Ralph Terry: A hall of famer and a gentleman
Our series on this year's inductees to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame continued today with Ralph Terry. I had the honor of penning this piece. I say honor because I got the chance to meet the former big-league pitcher earlier this year when the induction class was announced, and he struck me as a gentleman of sport.
He was so kind and so unassuming. At one point during our interview that day, he mentioned in passing that he taught Tug McGraw, the great screwball pitcher, how to throw a screwball.
I had to stop Terry and rewind on that.
You taught Tug McGraw to throw a screwball?
“I taught him how to throw it, yeah,” Terry said, as boisterous as you'll hear him. "I’m proud of that.”
You can read the column that I wrote the day of the induction announcement here: http://newsok.com/mantle.-mays.-williams.-ralph-terry-has-crossed-paths-with-a-litany-of-sports-legends/article/5386626
You can read the column that I wrote today about how Terry overcame repeated trials and tribulations here: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-strong-ralph-terry-overcame-injury-and-disappointment-several-times-and-in-the-process-the-big-league-pitcher-earned-a-spot-among-oklahomas-best./article/5436535
But before you read that, check out this email that I received today. It ties back to NEO, where Terry played football (yes, football) when he wasn't off playing minor-league baseball. He also became such a good golfer that he played several years on the senior tour.
Here's that email:
"I read this morning's article on Ralph Terry with great interest. My name is Lynda Estes, and I grew up a Ralph Terry fan. My father Joe Estes, 'Sarge' as he was known at NEO A&M, was with the ROTC there when Ralph Terry was a freshman in college. My dad became a huge fan of Ralph and was always so proud to say that he had known him in the very early years of his career.
"After I read your article this morning, I pulled out scrapbooks that my father had made, and indeed, there were seven articles about Ralph. The last time we saw him was in 1960 when we happened to be in Washington D.C. and the Yankees were playing the Senators. We were able to meet with Ralph after the game. Although they lost, my dad got to have his visit with one of his favorites.
"My dad passed away in 1974, but somehow, I'd like Ralph to know that 'Sarge' followed his career from his beginning to my dad's end. I can only imagine how proud my dad would be right now knowing that Ralph Terry is being inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame."
I'm going to do my darnedest to pass on this email because just like "Sarge", I am extremely proud that Ralph Terry is part of our state's great sports legacy.