GRAND RAPIDS — In reading the obituaries in a recent Herald-Review, I was surprised to learn of an excellent athlete living here in the Grand Rapids area who had passed.

Richard A. “Rich” Kreitling, age 84, of Grand Rapids, Clearwater, Fla., and recently of Hastings, Minn., died May 9, 2020.

Rich was born in Chicago and was a dynamic receiver for the University of Illinois back in the late 1950s.

In 1957, in his junior season, he had 12 catches, averagine 16.7 yards per catch and scored two touchdowns.

Rich was one of the most explosive receivers in college football in 1958, as he snared 23 balls for 688 yards and five touchdowns, averaging an incredible 29.9 yards per catch.

His ability as a receiver caught the eye of the National Football League as he was selected as the 11th overall player in the first round of the 1959 draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Rich played six years in the NFL, from 1959-1963 with the Browns, and then for the Chicago Bears in 1964.

For his NFL career, in 79 games he caught 123 passes for 1,775 yards and 17 touchdowns.

A big receiver for the times at 6-feet, 2-inches and 208 pounds, his best season came in 1962 with Cleveland when he caught 44 balls for 659 yards and three touchdowns.

In 1963, he had six touchdown catches amongst his 22 overall receptions.

According to his obituary, Rich’s “love for the sport and dedication to his teammates earned him a spot in college football hall of fame, and allowed him to have a successful career.”

I wish I would have known that Rich lived here in the Grand Rapids area because I would have loved to have sit down and talked with him.

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I have nearly completed reading broadcaster Dick Bremer’s new book and I have enjoyed it.

The long-time Minnesota Twins television broadcaster has some good tales to talk about during his many years behind the microphone.

He has some great perspectives on situations involving Twins baseball since the early 1980s, when he first became affiliated with the Twins.

Being a Minnesota native, Bremer is a life-long Minnesota sports fan who I think is and has been a huge asset to Minnesota for decades.

There are some good stories in the book concerning him and broadcast partner Bert Blyleven which I will let you read for yourself.

Buy the book.

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