This is the first of what hopefully will be many articles about some of the great players that have worn the Scarlet and Gray.
By Bill Smith
Richard Philip "Dick" Schafrath played tackle for the National
Championship 1957 Buckeyes. He played like he did everything else—to
the very best of his ability on every snap of every game. Those of you
that are old enough to remember the great teams under Coach Woody Hayes
know that the running game was the centerpiece of the offense. And when
it came to running on his side, All American Schafrath was the
centerpiece of the blocking.
Working hard on the field in front of what was then 80,000
faithful fans is expected. Dick made his reputation as much on the
practice field as in the game. He is a quiet person with a personality
that draws you to him. He has always led by example. He was captain of
the 58 Buckeye team and often during his career played both ways—tackle
on offense and defensive end as well despite weighing only 220 pounds
in his senior year.
He was a second round pick of the Browns in 1959 and was
plugged into the starting left tackle position on his first
practice. He had big shoes to fill. The previous owner of that spot was
Hall of Fame kicker/tackle Lou Groza. He brought the habit of lifting
weights from his OSU days to the Browns locker room. At that time,
lifting was not a regular thing for pro players. He eventually worked
himself up to 270.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dick on several
occasions. One evening at his home he related a story that this article
would not be complete without.
In that first practice, an early play was a sweep around left
end. During the play, he said he was hit in the back harder than he was
at any time the rest of his career by HOF running back Jim Brown. After
the play, Jim bent down and offered the rookie his hand to help Dick up.
“Son, if you can't knock somebody down, at least get the hell out of the way.” Nothing more had to be said.
Dick played for 13 years and was named to the pro bowl team 7
times. He was part of the Browns team that upset the Colts 27-0 in
1964. It was no coincidence that 3 HOF runners played for the Browns
during Dick's career—Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, and Leroy Kelly. If
nobody blocks, nobody runs.
Dick was recruited into politics by Pres. Reagan. The
President named him to establish and run "Athletes for Reagan-Bush
'84.” Dick ran for the Ohio State Senate against sitting well known
Rep. Tom Van Meter and won the seat. He served in that capacity until
he retired in 2000. In 2003 he was elected to the Browns Legends Club.
No matter what he did, Dick Schafrath has exemplified what we
all love as the essence of OSU sports—class, effort, and excellence. I
am honored to have met him.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for
http://BrutusReport.com. He has also published several novels on
http://ebooks-library.com/index.cfm and edits