Berry Tramel

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Bobby Jack: Memories of a two-sport star

by Berry Tramel Published: May 30, 2014
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Bobby Jack died last week. He was 63. Bobby Jack had more than a totally cool name. He was one of the great two-sport athletes in OU history. Long before Ryan Minor, Jack pulled off the basketball/baseball combo to great acclaim. A solid forward for John MacLeod’s basketball team, and a superb first baseman for Enos Semore’s baseball team.

Bill Hancock, now the executive director of the College Football Playoff, was a classmate of Bobby Jack and Scott Martin (another two-sport star, basketball and tennis) and Jack Mildren. Hancock emailed me this week after learning of Jack’s death.

“Bobby Jack was one of the really good people,” Hancock wrote. “They helped lay the foundation.”

Hancock wrote Aaron Jack, Bobby’s son, and shared that email: “Hi Aaron.  I am one of the many Sooners who loved your dad, and share your sadness at losing him—and your happiness at having enjoyed him.

“Bobby and I arrived at OU as freshmen in the fall of 1968.  I had a couple of classes with him and liked him immediately, just like everyone else did.  I had the good fortune of writing a column for the student newspaper, and later being SID for basketball and baseball.  So Bobby and I spent many great days together, including some amazing road trips around Big Eight country.  Bobby was SO much fun.

“I always told Bobby that, as his publicist, I made him an all-Big Eight player in both sports.  We both knew I had nothing to do with it, but it gave us a good laugh.  (I also claimed to have made Alvan Adams famous, and Bob Pritchard, too.)

“I will always remember the home run Bobby hit at Missouri.  He had launched a rocket a couple of innings earlier that the centerfielder ran down near the outfield wall.  The next time Bobby came to the plate, the pitcher knocked him down once—maybe twice.  Bobby got up, dusted himself off, and slapped the next pitch a couple of miles. One of my jobs was doing color for Vince Larsen, our radio announcer from KGWA in Enid.  When Bobby hit the homer, the listeners back home in Enid heard the crack of the bat, then the next thing Vince said was, ‘Catch that, you mothergoose.’

“It was a great privilege to know Bobby Jack.  I cherish the time I got to spend with him.”

 

 

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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