Today is a great day to celebrate the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Wolverine named Robert J. Ptacek. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Robert J. “Bob” Ptacek was born on this day in 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio. Yes, he is another Buckeye who saw the light and chose Michigan.
(Note – Robert J. Ptacek is shown above with the 1958 Michigan Football team. He is seated in the first row – second man on the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Robert J. Ptacek came to Michigan in 1955 to earn a college degree and play football for Coach Bennie Oosterbaan. He spent his freshman year playing on the “rookie” team and learning the ways of Michigan Football.
Bob made the varsity team in 1956 and started two games at left halfback in 1956. He also played seven games at quarterback and returned punts and kickoffs. Bob Ptacek played a lot of good football for the Wolverines during his sophomore year. Michigan won 7 games and lost 2 in 1956. They finished second in the Big Ten that season with a record of 5-2-0.
Ptacek didn’t start any games in 1957, but he played in all nine games. Once again, he played quarterback, halfback and performed on special teams. Bob also played defense for the Wolverines in 1957. He helped the Wolverines post an overall record of 5-3-1. Michigan broke even in the conference that year with a final record of 3 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie. They slipped to sixth place in the Big Ten.
Robert j. Ptacek retuned for his senior year in 1958. He earned the starting quarterback job on what turned out to be Bennie Oosterbaan’s final team. Unfortunately, the 1958 team posted a final record of 2 wins, 6 losses and 1 tie. The Wolverines ended the season with a conference record of 1-5-1. Yes, it was a disappointing season in Ann Arbor.
One of the few bright spots in the 1958 season was the excellent play of Bob Ptacek. The talented Ptacek was on the field a lot. He started all nine games and passed for 760-yards and rushed for another 161-yards. He threw three touchdowns and ran for four more. He logged the best game of his career in the last game of his career at Ohio State. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 241-yards and 2 touchdowns. Although the Wolverines lost the game, Ptacek’s excellent play kept them in the game until OSU finally won by a score of 20-14.
Bob Ptacek was named Michigan’s MVP for the 1958 season. Bottom line, Bob was the best player on the team and his teammates knew it. He did everything in his power to win for Michigan, but it wasn’t enough! Sometimes, that’s what happens. Robert J. Ptacek had a very good career at Michigan. He was one of the last “iron men” in Wolverine football. He did it all on offense, defense and special teams. I am sure that he slept well during football season!
So, Bob Ptacek’s Michigan career had some “ups and downs,” but definitely more “ups.” He, and his teammates contributed 14 more wins to Michigan’s all-time victory total from 1956 to 1958. Today is a great day to appreciate the contributions Bob Ptacek to Michigan Football History. I hope that Robert J. Ptacek has a really Happy Birthday today. Go Blue!
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