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Freddie Joe Steinmark

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Freddie Joe Steinmark
Personal information
Born:(1949-01-27)January 27, 1949
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Died:June 6, 1971(1971-06-06) (aged 22)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg)
Career history
High schoolWheat Ridge (Wheat Ridge, Colorado)
Career highlights and awards

Freddie Steinmark (January 27, 1949 – June 6, 1971) was an American college football player, whose diagnosis of bone cancer and subsequent leg amputation during his junior year with the University of Texas Longhorns provided an inspiration for the team's national championship that year.[1] His life has since been the subject of a number of inspirational books and a movie.

Football career[edit]

Steinmark was a member of the 1969 Texas Longhorns football team, which won a national championship.

Texas beat the 1969 Arkansas Razorbacks football team 15-14 in the "Game of the Century" on December 6, 1969. Two days later, x-rays revealed a bone tumor just above his left knee. A biopsy confirmed the tumor was malignant osteogenic sarcoma, and he was treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. On December 12, 1969, his leg was amputated at the hip.[2]

Twenty days later, he stood on the sideline with his team as Texas defeated Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year's Day. Steinmark's fight against cancer inspired the United States Congress to write the National Cancer Act of 1971 and President Richard Nixon to sign it into law, thus beginning the "War on Cancer".[3]


In 1971, with the help of Dallas Times Herald sports editor Blackie Sherrod, Steinmark wrote and published his autobiography I Play to Win.[4] The book was published posthumously, almost 3 months after Steinmark's death. Steinmark is the subject of the 2015 movie My All American, and a coinciding biography Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football, published by the University of Texas Press (September 1, 2015).[1] Steinmark died on June 6, 1971, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was a Roman Catholic.[5]


Steinmark was honored with the Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium's scoreboard on September 23, 1972. The current version of the Freddie Steinmark scoreboard, nicknamed Godzillatron, stands forty-seven-feet high.[6]

On November 7, 2015, the University of Texas Longhorns rededicated the scoreboard to Steinmark in a ceremony attended by the Steinmark family and many previous Longhorn players.[7] The Longhorns wore throwback uniforms similar to those worn by the 1969 squad for their game against the Kansas Jayhawks, removing the "Texas" wordmark from the front of the jerseys, the TV numerals from the shoulder pads, and names from the back.[8] The helmets featured the decal for college football's centennial, which was celebrated in 1969.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Yousse, Bower; Cryan, Thomas J. (1 September 2015). Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-1-4773-0821-9.
  2. ^ Eldon S. Branda, "STEINMARK, FREDDIE JOE," Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  3. ^ "National Cancer Act of 1971". cancer.gov. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  4. ^ Steinmark, Freddie (September 1971). I Play to Win. Little Brown & Company. ISBN 978-0316812504.
  5. ^ "Texas' Steinmark: 'Gentle Boy With a Deep Faith in God'" The Palm Beach Post 11 June 1971: D4. Print. | [1]
  6. ^ TexasSports.com, Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard [2].
  7. ^ "Texas Longhorns football re-dedicates Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard". 8 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b Texas dons throwback uniforms

External links[edit]