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.