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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: O.J. Simpson

     (Born July 9, 1947) -- You may have heard of this fellow for a variety of reasons. Since this is the sports section, let's stick to that area.

     Simpson was born with the name Orenthal James Simpson, supposedly after a French actor. He developed rickets and needed braces until the age of five. What were the odds of him becoming a running back?

     That's what happened, though, and he was a great one in high school and junior college in the Bay Area. Then it was on to Southern California for two years, where he might have been the best college running back ever. He won one Heisman Trophy, and probably should have won two.

     Simpson was an obvious choice as the top draft pick after the 1968 season, and the Bills grabbed him. It took a while for things to come together here, but Simpson was sensational once he got going. In 1973 he ran for 2,003 yards, the first NFL player to reach that number.

     Simpson added two more great years before injuries slowed him up. He was traded to San Francisco for a boatload of draft choices, but only played two mediocre seasons there. Simpson did enough, though, to be a first-year selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

--- Budd Bailey


Basketball | History
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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.