It’s been a rough couple of weeks for St. Louis sports fans. We lost baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock on September 6 and on Friday we learned of the passing of former Big Red great Larry Wilson.
Wilson played college ball at the University of Utah and was the Chicago Cardinals 7th round draft choice in the 1960 NFL draft. He went on to a 13 year Hall of Fame career in St. Louis.
The Rigby, Idaho native played in 8 Pro Bowls and was named first team All-Pro five times. He was selected to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, the 75th Anniversary Team, and the NFL 100 All-Time Team. Wilson was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1966 and is the all-time Cardinals leader in interceptions with 52. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.
Wilson was a member of the Cardinals organization as a player, coach, and executive for over 40 years. He was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2006.
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill had this to say about Wilson.
“Besides my father, Larry Wilson was the most influential male figure in my life. He was someone who truly lived his faith and demonstrated it daily in the kindness he showed every single person he met. Any of us lucky enough to be in his orbit – whether that was for a few minutes or four decades – was always better off from the experience. I will remember Larry Wilson first as a fantastic person but then obviously as one of the greatest players the National Football League has ever seen. It’s fitting that his passing coincides with the league’s 100th birthday because his toughness and the way he revolutionized his position make him one of our game’s most unforgettable figures. Whether on the field playing with casts on both hands or brightening the lives of every person he knew, Larry’s selflessness defined who he was and how we will all remember him.”
Larry Wilson is survived by Nancy, his wife of 40 years, as well as daughter Christie, son Larry Jr., numerous grandchildren and one great-grandchild.