Lou Creekmur Enshrinement speech
Lou Creekmur Enshrinement Speech 1996
Presenter: Doak Walker
Well, ladies and gentlemen, inductees, Hall of Famers we’re here again and here we go. What a great day it is for Lou Creekmur and a day to share with his family, and his friends and his teammates and me, ah, to be here and enjoy this great honor.
Lou was born January 22, 1927, in Hopelawn, New Jersey, to Rosie and James Creekmur. The family later moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey and then he became, played his secondary high school games there, won a scholarship and went to William and Mary, where he graduated, he went to the army shortly before that and came back two years later and played '47, '48, '49 and received All American honors. He was able to play in the Senior Bowl, the first Senior Bowl, Jacksonville, Florida 1950 and then played in the coveted college all-star game which used to be in Chicago. Lou was put into a pool, with at that time the America, ah, All-American league and the NFL kind of merged and they had a pool of players and Lou ended up in that pool and was actually drafted by the Detroit Lions.
Lou was the one going, to Detroit we had two big, big babies, Lou was one of the big babies. Leon Hart was the first one, he weighed 12 pounds at birth, but Lou outdid him weighing 14. Lou played both offensive guard and offensive tackle during his 10 years in Detroit plus filling in on defense when needed. He was named All Pro six times and received nine Pro Bowl invitations. He was one of the prevailing iron men of the fifties at that time, he started in 150 straight games for the Lions, and Lou played in three national championship teams 1952, 1953, 1957. I was fortunate enough to play with him for six years during that time. He was one of the, I owe to Lou an awful lot for me being here in this hall. He was my lead blocker and my protector. I'd be remising if I did not mention the name Bobby Layne.
Sweet Bobby was our leader on the field during the day and off the field by night. I know Lou will agree with me that Bobby had a great deal of influence on his play and determination to be the best player in his position. Lou had unbelievable upper body strength when he came to Detroit and sometimes he upset Bobby, one of the one things he upset Bobby was in practice sometimes he would pick Bobby up, lift him up and hold him and Bobby would beg him to put me down, don't hurt me Lou, please put me down.
Finally, Lou would put him down and kind of smile and walk off. Without a doubt, Lou wore more pads than anyone I ever saw in pro football. He made the Johnson-Johnson all tape club no doubt about that. He taped his hands like a prize fighter. He wore knee pads, thigh pads, shin pads, front and back of his legs, he wore hip pads, shoulder pads, shin pads on his upper arms and, and behind and front and then a big cage, there was no way you could get to him. You could swing at him with a sledgehammer and never touch him. He was that time a real candidate for the All-Madden team. All this doesn't mean a whole lot now, the statistics are there. Lou's, and I guess I'd say the votes are in. And Lou, after 32 years waited this long and it's long overdue. This is not my day, it's not Bobby's day, it's Lou's day, so it gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce to you, Lou Creekmur, my friend and teammate.
Thank you Doak, that's a rarity Doak to be in front of me, I appreciate it. I've had it ready for thirty-some years. Needless to say, it's had a little dust. You know, I guess anyone that's ever-had a down in football has had the dream of someday being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I'm no different than anybody else. And after playing ten years of pro, you dream a little harder. Being here today is really the realization of a dream I never even thought I could have, let alone have it. Make a long story short, I had a good college career, making many hours and playing in several all-star games and one of those Doak mentioned about was the Senior Bowl in Jacksonville, where I blocked the kick over a guy from SNU named Doak Walker.
I've led a pretty lucky life for an old beat up football player. I never thought that when I went up for football at Woodridge High School in 1943, yeah 43, that someday I'd be standing up here at a podium, being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When I was offered a scholarship to William and Mary's there was no question about my acceptance. Imagine Mrs. Creekmur's little boy going to school, going to college. I went down to William and Mary seven days after I graduated from high school. I weighed all of 200 pounds and was six foot tall. There's a little thing that some of you guys ought to remember called a World War II going on at the time and I had to go over to Germany for a couple of years. Well, that time that I spent over in Germany was growing time. And I came back from Germany to get back to William and Mary 270 pounds and six foot four. Rube McCray and Marvin Bass the line coach down there at Williamsburg were sure happy to see me return.
What a difference four inches and 70 pounds make, Whoa. They didn't even mind my cigar smoking. Here's where my lucky Lou label comes into play. I doubt very much that the 200-pound six-foot Creekmur would ever end up in the pros, but the six-foot four, 270-pound Creekmur was a different story. My original class graduated in 1948 and I was the property of the Los Angeles Dons and the Philadelphia Eagles, but because of that service interruption I had another year left for eligibility, so I stayed over and earned a master's degree. This proved to be one of the best decisions of my career.
The leagues merged in 1950 and I was thrown into a pool from which Detroit drafted me as the second pick behind the guy back here. My luck was still holding Detroit was acquiring personnel that would put us out a pretty fair team. Bobby Layne who we all love, Leon Hart, the Doaker, Cloyse Box, Bob Smith, Hunchy Hunchmar, and then in future years some real good rookies like a fellow by the name of Joe Schmidt, who happens to have a gold coat. Jack Christianson, another Hall of Famer, Jim David, my roomie Charlie Onnie, Dick Stanfeld, and another Hall of Famer Yale Lary. There are some pretty good horses to put out there on that field. I just hope some of those guys who aren't in the Hall get a chance to join me someday. I waited a long time for this honor, but I'll tell you, the wait has not caused that honor to lose any of the luster; it's still a hell of a wow.
I'd like to thank my former coaches, Nick Prisco back in high school, Marvin Bass at William and Mary, and Buddy Parker, George Wilson, and Aldo. I could never thank Aldo enough for the dedication on his part to turn me into an all-pro football player. He can't be here because of illness in the family, but he's here. To Jerry Greene up in Detroit, Jerry thank-you, for all your help in carrying my standards, I greatly appreciate it. To guys like Larry Wiseman, Paul, thank-you for not giving up on me. Good things do happen to those who wait. Remember I told you about playing in that Senior Bowl at the end of my college career, well, that play must have really impressed Bowe McMillan, who was the coach at that time up in Detroit; he's the one that drafted me out of the player's pool. I signed with Detroit for an astronomical contract, $500 bonus, $5,000 salary, that was more money than I ever thought there was available in the world. Had a pretty good career, played ten years on three world championships, beat the Cleveland Browns every time, eight pro bowls, six years all-pro, and an introduction to the trucking industry, where I spent the last 25 years.
My last three years playing pro football, this is so great guys can't believe it, I was the terminal manager for a truck line there in Dearborn, Michigan called Sagana Transport Company. I played a ball game on Sunday, would go to work at 7:30 on Monday morning. I did that for three years; I wonder if they'd do that today. This led to my taking a job with Ryder truck lines in Jacksonville, Florida, I finally got back down south; I love it. A fellow by the name of Jim Ryder hired me, and again it turned out to be a pretty good decision on my part. I left the truck lines after four years and joined Jim Don and the Ryder system in Miami and put in that 25 years. Again, lady luck was looking out for me. I have made many, many friends through football and a lot of you are out here, and many, many friends through Ryder, that are also out here.
I'd like to say something to the ballplayers, you've got to think something about this, there is life after football, and I hope these guys that are playing today try to remember that, there is life after football. And the values you learn in football have to be applied to the real world. Dedication, persistence, and the word loyalty are still words that have meaning. Yet the block and tackle in the business world, as well as on the football field, and opening holes for the boss will still give you the recognition we all crave. Don't ever give it up; there is gold at the end of the rainbow, I can attest to that, here I am. Challenges in life I think are there for a purpose, and if you utilize what you learn when you accept these challenges, it's surprising how successful you can become. Good examples are back here behind me.
Again, my thanks, my thanks goes to all that got me here, to Pete Elliott and his staff, boy what a job you all do here in Canton. And to all, to all the Hall of Fame volunteers, thanks, we really appreciate it. Take care.