Ron Mix Enshrinement speech
Ron Mix Enshrinement Speech 1979
Presenter: Joe Madro
I am glad to be in Ohio again, and I am certainly happy with the circumstances I revisit. Ladies and gentlemen, I am filled with deep emotion and I am grateful for the privilege of sponsoring Ron Mix's enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
As a member of Oakland Raiders and a former offensive linebacker of the Chargers, I am happy to follow the precedent of Al Davis sponsoring Lance Alworth, the first player chosen from the American Football League. Ron Mix was the second player and first lineman chosen to be enshrined from the AFL. I deeply regret that the great pro Sid Gillman, former head coach of the San Diego Chargers, could not be here to sponsor Ron Mix. Sid Gillman is successfully recuperating from heart-artery bypass surgery performed less than three weeks ago.
Ron Mix represents all that a professional football offensive lineman should be. Ron was totally committed. His speed, strength and tenacity, along with flexibility and flexible response. With a great capacity for work and self-critique, Ron would always devote time after practice to further improve his skills. He had no peer as an offensive line technician. Each snap of the ball was a challenge to this scullery combatant. Ron would select and implement his skills like a surgeon wielding his scalpel. The combination of his mental and physical attributes prompted my labeling him "The Intellectual Assassin."
Ron Mix was a catalyst that united the Chargers' explosive offense, as quarterbacks Jack Kemp and John Hadl will attest. Ron was an All-American at the University of Southern California, coached by Al Davis and another enshrinee, Mel Hein. During the years 1960 to 1968 while playing tackle and one year as guard at San Diego, Ron was named to the AFL team seven times. Remarkably during that period, he was called for holding only twice. Seems unbelievable. Ron concluded his career with the Oakland Raiders in 1971. A goal-oriented individual.
Ron set his objectives very high and had high hopes and plans to reach them. He was tentatively impressive and assertive some, yet he was a low-key individual. During his pro football career, he fulfilled his military commitment. He also attended law school, received his degree and now he is a successfully practicing attorney in San Diego.
Words are almost inadequate to express my feeling regarding the Canton’s area profound and genuine display of enthusiasm and support of Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. You and your predecessors -- and I emphasize predecessors -- have deservingly earned the rights to the title ''the cradle of professional football.” Godspeed to you and your descendants in perpetuating this heritage and glorious football tradition.
To be here representing a former player of mine upon his induction into the Hall of Fame is as important and proud a moment for me as it is for Ron. Only a few are chosen for this great honor, and great ones like Ron Mix are what keep professional football at the top of the American sporting scene.
Ladies and gentlemen, one of the finest offensive lineman of all times: Ron Mix.
Thank you, Coach Madro. I appreciate your kind and generous words more than I can tell you, and I want you to know that this is a day truly beyond description. It is beyond an athlete's dreams. It may be beyond the words of a poet.
To come into this wonderful city of Canton with their people who try so hard in making everything so special. We walk through the Hall of Fame -- a great tribute to your hard work and the history of professional football just seems to come alive. I know I looked at those old photographs, and I tell you I saw a great similarity of those players many, many years ago and the old Canton Bulldogs and those who exist today. You see those same thick necks, those same thick shoulder. Their necks and shoulders were made that way from the hard work in the steel mills, digging coal, while they played the game for nothing. And to look at those pictures closely you can truly see in their eyes, the fire and enthusiasm that made men take their pleasure in something where they risked greatly.
A few days ago, one of the highlights of the trip was to attend a luncheon in Canton, Ohio, and at that luncheon the past enshrinees told the present class what it meant to them to be enshrined. And I just wish all of you could have attended. One after another spoke with just quiet eloquence and dignity about what it meant to them and men like Leo ''The Lion" Nomellini, Joe “The Jet'' Perry, Dante ''Glue Fingers'' Lavelli, Lenny Moore, and I can only say to them: Yes, everything is true and much more, and you saw those fine men in that room where they spoke, it just seemed to fill with dignity and courage and you can see that they wore their scars very proudly and you saw some of the fire in their eyes and you knew when they played they came to the game and they were going to win or they were going to carried out on their shield.
And now we are a part of this, and I don’t know quite how it happened. To be a part of remembered history of professional football is truly beyond anything I every dreamed of. Beyond anything I sought. My only desire, really, was to simply be a part of this great game of professional football. I never consciously thought of the honor that is with me today. I tried only to play as hard as I could on every down and to conduct mv life off the field and on the field in a way that would make me a better football player.
I am here, and I am just thrilled with it. I haven't done it by myself, I can promise you that. If I were to try to begin to express where I started, I must honestly say, it begins in this great country of America. You know President Carter says, "Love your country." There is a great much to love about it. It's a country that protects our freedom and allows us to rise as far as our capacity to work and our desires will carry us.
And then I think about my mother. A women who worked with that quiet dignity and great courage that millions of other divorced women of America are left to raise children on their own and somehow do it by themselves, see that their children stay in school, and see that they are educated and they are imparted with a system of values.
I think of my high school coaches who are here today, and I thank them for being here today. Hal Chauncey and Dave Capaluto, who taught me the first fundamentals of the game, the first fundamentals of being a good person, I believe. You know, I think finally when we’re judged whether we are a success or not in this world, it is what we have given to others. Has there been somewhere along the way have we stopped to help others? Have we stopped to help a young boy? Well, in all terms my two coaches were a great success.
My college coaches: Al Davis, Mel Hein who is enshrined here. Don Clark taught me responsibility and dedication to purpose and responsibility to other things other than themselves to one school and gratitude for having acquired an education. And even with all of that, I still perhaps would not have played professional football if I had not been fortunate to meet a weight trainer along the way. My friend, John Bozonkus, who put 50 pounds of weight on me that I needed to play the game. And finally, to come into professional football and be blessed with a coach like Joe Madro for my entire career, whose wit and knowledge of the game kept my interest alive, which is important. And the wonderful Sid Gillman, who could not be here today, who had a fire, a brilliance and enthusiasm that is really matched only by a few professional coaches, and most of them are enshrined here today.
I spent my career in the American Football League, and sometimes, in fact just about all the time, a sportswriter asks me did I ever regret not signing with the Baltimore Colts. My first thought is always, "Would I have met my wife, Pat, if I would have gone to Baltimore?" I promise you that is my first thought. My wife is here today, as are my three daughters: my Carrie, my Beth and my Darci.
And all of this there is still one thing I must tell you, and that is the players. I can't exclude them. They are a part of this game and most of whom will not be up here today who are simply a part of the game, and I have just the grandest respect for them. Every day, I promise from the first day you report to training camp from that first contact drill, you play with an injury of some type for the rest of the season. The pressure is tremendous to try to keep playing, and you play in front of millions of people -- thousands of people in person. You make your mistakes in person, and you can't erase them. And these players do that. To them I must recognize their great talent.
And, finally, you think about training, and you train as hard as you can in the offseason, during the season, and yet you know with all that training, once that game starts and that great exposure of energy that takes place you try to do your best. You are exhausted, and you thank goodness for the time between the plays to rest up again to come back again.
I thank the Selection Committee that has chosen me, the Hall of Fame committee. I thank the Jewish Community Center, who were kind enough to honor me when I was in Canton, Ohio. I must tell you I will cherish the bust that was made of me, I will cherish the Hall of Fame ring. I will proudly wear it. And in my heart, I will know if none of this would have happened, I would have been happy just to have been a part of professional football. And I love this award and I also know in my heart that I share this with every man who has ever played this game.