Jeff · April 17, 2005 at 3:09 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

With the results of his first two starts, it’s time to celebrate Ryan Franklin — and his homeland.

The fertile grounds of Oklahoma have grown many legendary baseball players: Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell, Dizzy Dean, the Waner brothers. None of them, however, have turned in nearly 17 strong innings this season. What have you done for me lately, Mick? Big Poison? Also, none of these greats are from Spiro! Home of the Spiro Mounds!

Note to Ryan: do not gain weight, or people will not hesitate to nickname you “the Spiro Mound.”

Other sports heroes call Oklahoma home-a. Jim Thorpe, once the World’s Greatest Athlete, and Steve Largent, still the best Seahawk of them all. From the NBA, the Price family and “Big Country” Bryant Reeves. Wrestler “Dr. Death” Steve Williams name-checked his place of origin by dubbing his finishing move “the Oklahoma Stampede.”

Yes, it was just a powerslam. But it was an Oklahoma powerslam.

Will Rogers and Sequoyah are immortalized via two statues in the capitol rotunda. The Oklahoma license plate says “Indian Country” for a reason: to name a few prominent native people, there’s Wilma Mankiller and Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday. Don’t forget groundbreaking non-native historian Angie Debo, either. According to a list compiled by Oklahoma boosters, Geronimo also apparently counts, even though he was only imprisoned there.

The first fullblooded Indian in the major leagues, Mose Yellowhorse, was a Pawnee from Oklahoma. And he drilled Ty Cobb in the noggin.

Musically speaking, there was the famous outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd and the balladeer who celebrated him, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie. Then there are the country singers: Garth, Reba … how many do you want to name? Merle Haggard was born in California, but is still proud to be an Okie from Muskogee. Gene Autry was from Oklahoma before he owned the Angels, and thankfully, passed away before the name change debacle.

The Flaming Lips used vaseline, magazines and tangerines in Norman, Oklahoma.

More Oklahomans revealed by the list of Famous Sooners: Leroy Gordon Cooper was born in Shawnee and later orbited the earth as one of the original seven US astronauts. S.E. Hinton was inside Oklahoma before writing The Outsiders. And Lawrence Walsh! God bless Lawrence Walsh. Brad Pitt is from Oklahoma, and he got to hook up with Jennifer Aniston.

A mystery: how did Peter White not make this list? It’s a scandal! It’s a outrage!

“Dr. Phil” McGraw is also from Oklahoma. But what you need to do is forgive the Sooner state for that, because every state gets one mulligan.

Jeremy Shockey is not from Oklahoma. Do not listen to him when he tells you he is. Miami can have him. Forget I mentioned it.

Instead, focus on Ryan Franklin. Step right up, Ryan. Shake hands with Mose Yellowhorse and Dizzy Dean. Hope the Sooner magic rubs off, rolls on, and keeps booming.


25 Responses to “Oklahoma!”

  1. dw on April 17th, 2005 4:21 pm

    OK. Let’s pick some nits.

    The license plates say “Native America,” not “Indian Country.” The Flaming Lips are more OKC boys than Norman.

    And no mention of those two great scourges of the statheads — Lloyd Waner and Joe Carter? And what of Bishop Kelley grad Charlie O’Brien, the man who brought us the hockey-style catcher’s mask?

    And hell, you mention wrestlers and don’t mention Goldberg? Tulsa Edison has the oddest set of famous alumni — a corporate raider (Henry Kravis), a double Emmy winner (Larry Drake), and a pro wrestler (Goldberg).

    I saw Shockey when he was playing for Ada HS. Ada HS was still running the wing-T at the turn of the millenium. Did you mean Mi-am-ee or Mi-am-uh?

    Of course, none of that compares to Spiro. Well, unless you’re from Big Cabin. Or Bluejacket. Or Pink. Or Pumpkin Center. Or Drumright. Or….

  2. Ryan on April 17th, 2005 4:25 pm

    Points for the Kravis mention, dw.

    I’ve met the guy. He wears cowboy boots.

  3. Jeff on April 17th, 2005 4:51 pm

    If Goldberg had named his finish the “Tahlequah Jackhammer” or the “Stillwater Spear,” he would have filled my quota for one wrestler.

    My pal from Norman claims the Lips as Norman’s own. I consider this an intra-Sooner dispute, and take no formal position.

  4. dw on April 17th, 2005 5:08 pm

    Take no formal position? You step into Oklahoma, you have to choose your sides straightaway. OU or OSU? OKC or Tulsa? You can’t have it both ways.

    Oh, and you have to have some absolutely whacked out political beliefs, too. What other state but Oklahoma would have Tom “Abortionists and activist judges should get the Death Penalty” Coburn and Jim “Those perps in Abu Gharib deserved that treatment” Inhofe as the senators?

  5. Jeff on April 17th, 2005 5:19 pm

    Consider my loyalties officially aligned with Norman. And agreed on the “whacked out” comment, for sure.

  6. David J Corcoran on April 17th, 2005 5:26 pm


    Hey, Oklahoma is the only other state in the nation to have a city named “Boise” so it gets my thumbs up. Actually, if you turned Idaho to the right 90 degrees and mirrored it, you’d have Oklahoma.

  7. jomilo75 on April 17th, 2005 5:34 pm

    As another Okie Transplant and Mariner fan, I almost feel obliged to post. All this nostalgia almost makes me want to dig out my tattered Eskimo Joe’s t-shirt and pop open a Coors … or not.

    As for my positions: OSU, Tulsa, and Inhofe has been a whack job since he was mayor of Tulsa.

    We should probably add Mariner radio producer, and Tulsa native, Kevin Cremin to the running list of “Random Okies Worthy of Mention on USS Mariner”. Others that come to mind would be fellow Booker T. HS grads Wayman Tisdale (NBA star turned jazz musician) and Amber Valetta (model/acress, currently in Hitch).

  8. dw on April 17th, 2005 5:52 pm

    I was going to mention Valetta but didn’t know if she was still a supermodel. Current Trailblazers head coach Kevin Pritchard is an Edison grad.

    In NYC, when first meeting, you usually get asked what you do for a living. LA, it’s where you live. In Tulsa, it’s which high school you went to. It’s a status symbol; don’t ask me why. My wife didn’t believe me until we were at a reception and talking to librarian Nancy Pearl who used to run the Tulsa library system. We talked for a bit. I mentioned I was from Tulsa. “Really? Which high school you go to?”

    And while it’s spelled the same as the capital of Idaho, Boise City is pronounced “Boze,” like a guy from Atlanta is trying to sell you one of those radios.

    Oh, last I looked, Joe McGinnity’s house in McAlester was still for sale. $30K. Needs a lot of work, but it’s a Victorian masterpiece — and some of woodwork in the house is made from split baseball bats.

  9. David J Corcoran on April 17th, 2005 5:54 pm

    That’s how we hicks from central Idaho pronounce Boise anyway.

  10. msb on April 17th, 2005 6:26 pm

    hmm. my grandad worked for Oklahoma A & M until the depression hit, so guess I’d come down on the Stillwater side of things….

  11. msb on April 17th, 2005 6:30 pm

    oh, and I’d add Ben Johnson to the Random List of Okies. Not the banned runner Ben Johnson, but the one from Foraker & Pawhuska, who won both the Academy Award and the PRCA team roping championship.

  12. Jim Thomsen on April 17th, 2005 6:44 pm

    Oklahoma, where the whites came trashing down the plain
    And the waived-off meet
    To contemplate defeat
    When the 89ers step off the Texas Rangers train
    Oklahoma, every night Ryan Franklin tried
    To stave off walks
    And shut down talk that he could not lock the majors in his sights
    He knows he belongs in the Show
    And the show that he puts on is not slow
    Yi! Yi!
    Yippy! Yippy!
    And when he says
    Ay-yo, a-yip-I-owe-I-ay
    He’s only sayin’
    More support would be fine
    Spiro! Too much dinero!
    Won’t let my labrum send me hom-a! YEOW!

  13. Jim Thomsen on April 17th, 2005 6:44 pm

    Second “show” should be “slow.” Kindly edit.

  14. Bill on April 17th, 2005 9:50 pm

    The return of Brad Penny this week could jeopardize Ryan Franklin’s standing as the best current major league starting pitcher who is an Oklahoma native. Plus, Penny’s from Broken Arrow–which for my money is a cooler-sounding Oklahoma hometown than Spiro. But that’s just me.

  15. Cool Papa Bell on April 17th, 2005 10:44 pm

    “That’s how we hicks from central Idaho pronounce Boise anyway.”

    You mean pronouncing it “Boyz-zee”? Hmm, I only thought out-of-staters said it like that. It really irks me when I hear someone say it that way, but I’ve never thought about whether people in other parts of the state do it (I’ve only lived in Boise).

  16. norm on April 18th, 2005 6:19 am

    Boise City is pronounced “Boys” not “Boze”.

  17. Cardinal John on April 18th, 2005 8:29 am


    Let’s see now. OU in football. ORU in everything else.

    Tulsa over OKC (cept bricktown).

    Let’s not forget other well known sports stars from Oklahoma:

    Dennis Rodman claims he’s from there

    Jim Thorpe

    more recently Troy Aikman

    and your very own Peter White.


  18. Erica on April 18th, 2005 9:03 am

    Don’t forget James Garner. Also, interesting Oklahomans who were connected with my hometown (Duncan, OK): Ron Howard and Jeanne Kirkpatrick.

  19. Gunga on April 18th, 2005 9:39 am

    Don’t forget former Major Leaguer Cal Browning. Granted, he only played in one game and ended his cup of coffee appearance with a 40.5 ERA. I mention him only because he was born in Burns Flat, OK where I once lived. Now, isn’t that the coolest name?

  20. vj on April 18th, 2005 9:46 am

    Odd thing about Amber Valetta: I saw that Hitch movie Saturday and thought I was seeing Cameron Diaz.

  21. Jim Thomsen on April 18th, 2005 12:45 pm

    My favorite Oklahoma connection is author Se.E. Hinton, who wrote many great young adult novels (“Tex,” “Rumble Fish,” “The Outsiders”) and set them among wayward, poverty-stricken youth in the mean streets of Tulsa. I read and re-read them all religiously as a kid, and saw all the movies as well. To this day, whenever high-school friends of mine and I say goodbye, we get into our cheesy overemotional Ralph-Macchio-on-his deathbed voice and say, haltingtly but touchingly:

    “Stay … gold forever … Ponyboy.”

  22. Tony on April 18th, 2005 1:49 pm

    Boise, Oklahoma (it’s actually Boise City, I think), was the only city in the contiguous US bombed during World War 2.

    I would add to the list of famous Oklahomans these notables:

    Shannon Miller, the gymnast
    Bart Connor, the gymnast (and Nadia Comaneci, his wife, now resides in Norman as well)
    Paul Harvey, the sanctimonious radio host

    and last bust certainly not least….

    Hanson, the 3 “musicians” who had the smash hit “MMMBop” a few years back

    It makes a fella proud to be an Okie

  23. Jim Thomsen on April 18th, 2005 2:44 pm

    And now … you know … THE REST. OF THE STORY.

    Good day!

  24. Randy Crabtree on May 24th, 2005 10:27 am

    Famous Oklahomans
    Johnny Bench baseball player, Oklahoma City
    John Berryman poet, MacAlester
    Garth Brooks singer, Tulsa
    Jeremy Castle singer, Blanchard
    Iron Eyes Cody Cherokee actor
    Gordon Cooper astronaut, Shawnee
    Ralph Ellison writer, Oklahoma City
    James Garner actor, Norman
    Owen K. Garriott astronaut, Enid
    Vince Gill singer, Norman
    Chester Gould cartoonist, Pawnee
    Woodrow Wilson Woody Guthrie singer, composer, Okemah
    Ike,Taylor, Zac Hanson music, Tulsa
    Roy Harris composer, Lincoln Cty
    Paul Harvey broadcaster, Tulsa
    Van Heflin actor, Walters
    Tony Hillerman author, Sacred Heart
    Ron Howard actor, director, Duncan
    Karl Guthe Jansky engineer, Norman
    Ben Johnson actor, Pawhuska
    Jennifer Jones actress, Tulsa
    Jeane Kirkpatrick diplomat, Duncan
    Shannon Lucid astronaut, Bethany
    Mickey Charles Mantle baseball player, Spavinaw
    Reba McEntire singer, McAlester
    Shannon Miller Olympic gymnast, Edmond
    Bill Moyers journalist, Hugo
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan N.Y. senator, Tulsa
    Patti Page singer, Clarence
    Brad Pitt actor Shawnee
    Tony Randall actor, Tulsa
    Oral Roberts evangelist, Ada
    Dale Robertson actor, Oklahoma City
    Will Rogers humorist, Oologah
    Dan Rowan comedian, Beggs
    Robert Stemmons whistler, Tulsa
    Maria Tallchief ballerina, Fairfax
    James Francis Jim Thorpe athlete, Prague
    Jeanne Tripplehorn actress, Tulsa
    Ted Shackleford actor, Tulsa
    Wilma Mankiller Cherokee chief, Tahlequah

  25. Jack Bettis on June 11th, 2005 11:47 pm

    I’m from Spiro. The best baseball player I ever saw (and I’ve seen Ryan pitch) was a third baseman named Willard Hamby. He played 5 or 6 years for the Ft. Smith Giants of the Western Association back in the late 40’s and early 50’s and led the team two or three years in home runs. He was asked to come play for the NY Giants at several spring trainings but refused (as legend has it) because he would have had to play on Sundays and his wife didn’t want that. I certainly hope Ryan does well for the Mariners. He has good stuff most of the time. And Spiro has another semi-famous person….Dallas Frazier, song writer, who wrote “Alley Oop”. And then there was B.Bumble and the Stingers (R.C. Gamble, Bubby Neeley and Bobby Calloway) who had quasi-hits in the early 60’s with ‘Nutrocker’ and ‘Bumble Boogie’. And Rod Choate, the linebacker for O.U. and New England Patriots. And there was a 50’s B Movie Western actor named Bobby Clark (real name Clack) who did trick roping and all. But that’s a reach………