The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Makio '68, Getty Images, Library of Congress

A different time: football first, then family

Marty Radtke ’68, Mike Radtke ’70 recount the birth of their twins in the midst of a championship season.

Mike: I was one of nine married players on the football team. Marty was pregnant, and the day before the season’s first game, she drops me off at Ohio Stadium. Her water had broken. She didn’t tell me.

Marty: Because I knew he was starting a new position and he was playing for Woody. I came home, called my doctor and went straight to the hospital.

Mike: When our team got to the hotel that night, one of the managers says, “The old man wants to see you in his room.” Woody’s in a shirt, tie, boxer shorts, no pants, long socks and shoes. He’s drawing plays on a blackboard. He looks at me and says, “Your wife is messing everything up.” I say, “Pardon me?” He says, “Your wife’s in labor.” I look at my watch and say, “Can I go to the hospital? I’ll be back by 9:30.” A manager takes me to Riverside Hospital. I go to the labor room.

Marty: He comes in and sees two Xs on my belly and says, “What’s that?” I said, “One of the nurses thinks I’m having twins, and that one’s a boy and that one’s a girl. He went, “No way.” We had no idea.

Mike: Marty’s sister was there. I pat my wife’s hand and say, “Dear, I’d love to stay, but I have to be back at the hotel.” I go back to Woody’s room, and the old man puts his finger on my chest and says, “Now, I want you to understand one thing.” I said, “Yes sir, what’s that?” He says, ‘Women have babies every day of the year. We play SMU once. Make sure your priorities are right.”

Marty: It was a different time then.

Mike: Next day, morning of the game, you’re not allowed to talk at breakfast. I’m whispering to the trainers, “Can you find out if my wife had a baby?” They say, “We don’t know.” Same thing after we go to the stadium. I play. The game went on forever. We win. We’re running off the field.

Marty: They make an announcement over the stadium’s PA system. “Mike Radtke’s wife just had twins.”

Mike: I didn’t even know what sex they were. All I knew was she had babies. We didn’t have a car. I hitchhiked over to Riverside. I went down to the nursery, tapped on the window and pointed to the nurse like, “Would you move those two over here to the front so I can see them?”

Marty: Laura and Douglas.

Mike: Now we sit here and say, “Where have the 50 years gone?”