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Happy Mother's Day to a big leaguer's mom

Judy was an athlete herself, a basketball player at Midwest City in the 1970s, and her boy's athletic prowess became evident early.
by Berry Tramel Modified: May 11, 2013 at 11:53 pm •  Published: May 11, 2013

When Judy's boy was younger, she'd send him to the bathroom to brush his teeth and comb his hair. Then Judy would follow up and make sure he'd done what he was supposed to.

“I used to think she was smothering him,” said Judy's sister. But now she sees why Judy did it.

Judy was making sure her boy did things right. She's motherly. That's the word that describes Judy. Motherly then, motherly now.

“She looks out for his best interests,” said the sister.

Judy was a single mother and her boy was an only child until he was 16, when a little brother was born three months premature and died at the age of one.

So Judy and her son became great friends.

“Oh wow, they are like two peas in a pod,” said Judy's sister. “They're very close. She tries not to smother him, but she's his mother. She doesn't treat him like he's a child. But you can tell she's there for his protection. She doesn't want anybody to say anything about him. Doesn't want anybody to hurt him. They're very close.”

Every time Judy's sister sees his face, she laughs to herself. “I can hear his voice, saying, ‘Momma!'”

Judy grew up in Midwest City. Her parents were hard workers; each always had two jobs, it seemed like, and Judy inherited that ethos.

Before her boy came along, Judy would go to nursing school during the day, work full-time at night as a nurse's aide and sleep and study when she could.

Judy was an athlete herself, a basketball player at Midwest City in the 1970s, and her boy's athletic prowess became evident early.

When he made it big, he bought a house for Judy before he bought one for himself. “Seeing the look of joy on her face when she picked it out and decorated what I gave her as a small token of my appreciation … there was no better feeling,” her son told Ebony magazine. “That, and telling her she didn't have to work anymore.”

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by Berry Tramel
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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