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One more way Ralph Terry is amazing -- his hands

Last week, I had the good fortune and absolute honor of crossing paths with Ralph Terry.

He is one of the members of the 2015 Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame induction class, and while many old-timers and baseball buffs know about him, my knowledge of him was limited.

Truth: I’d never heard of him before the induction class was announced.

(Hey, I’ve only lived in Oklahoma for 15 years. I’ve still got stuff to learn!)

But I quickly realized that Terry has lived an amazing life. It’s got a Forrest Gump quality to it. I was so enamored with it that I wrote about it. You can read that column by clicking here.

But I quickly realized something else about Ralph Terry — he has gigantic hands.

When I went to Terry’s table to introduce myself before the induction luncheon began, I stuck out my hand as I always do when meeting someone for the first time. Terry shook my hand — and engulfed it. It felt like his fingers extended halfway up my forearm.

I went back to my table and immediately told my co-workers that I thought Terry might have the biggest hands of anyone I’ve ever met.

After the lunch was over, I went back to interview Terry. We had a great conversation, much of which made it into my column, but after we finished up, I told him that I had an odd request. I asked if he would be willing to trace the outline of one of his hands.

I told him that once upon a time, Oklahoma had a receiver named Jaz Reynolds who had extra large hands. We even asked to get a tracing of Reynolds’ hands — and it gave our readers a chance to marvel and just how big his hands were.

Terry agreed to do the same, and sitting there, he traced his right hand on the only thing I had that was big enough, the luncheon’s program. I have since enhanced his pen marks with a Sharpie so they’re easier to see.

Here’s a picture of that outline. Remember, this is on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper:

To give you a little perspective, here’s my hand on that outline. I’m only 5-foot-5, so my hands aren’t huge. But I don’t think they’re all that abnormally small either:

After he traced his hand, Terry told me that Sandy Koufax had hands that rivaled his. Koufax’s hands weren’t as meaty, but his fingers were a bit longer than Terry’s.

I’ve looked at that tracing several times, and I’m fairly certain that Terry could touch his pinkie to his thumb and be able to hold a baseball between those two fingers. Me? I might be able to do that with a golf ball.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›