Five jersey numbers have been retired to honor seven players as three Wolverines -- the Wistert brothers -- each wore number 11. Six of the players are linemen and all were two-way players.
Gerald Ford -- No. 48
Former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford is not only one of Michigan's most famous and important graduates, but he is also one of the University's great student-athletes. On Oct. 8, 1994, Michigan retired his jersey number 48 during halftime of the Wolverines' game against Michigan State. Though Ford's football accomplishments may pale in comparison with his political achievements, the same would be said for any former President of the United States. While at Michigan, Ford earned three varsity letters from 1932-34 and was named Michigan Most Valuable Player his senior year as a starting center. On Jan. 1, 1935, Ford played on the East Team in the Shrine Crippled Children's Hospital game in San Francisco. In 1935, he played in the all-star game against the World Champion Chicago Bears following his standout senior season.
Ford, a 1935 Michigan graduate, received his law degree from Yale in 1941 while also serving as an assistant football coach there. He went on to serve in the Navy for four years of active duty and returned home in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
On Jan. 3, 1949 Ford was sworn into Congress. The Grand Rapids native, also a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, was known as a "congressman's congressman," and was elected as the minority leader of the House of Representatives in 1965. He would later be named Vice President, and then President of the United States in 1974.
Bennie Oosterbaan -- No. 47
Oosterbaan's No. 47 was retired following his playing career as he became the first Wolverine to have his jersey retired. Oosterbaan was a three-time All-American (1925, '26, '27) at end -- Michigan's first and one of only two, three-time All-Americans in Wolverine football history (Anthony Carter). The Wolverines went 20C4 in Oosterbaan's playing career. He was a nine-time letterwinner at Michigan, earning letters in football, basketball and baseball. Following graduation in 1928, he turned down contracts from professional baseball and football organizations to order to join the Michigan coaching staff. He served as an assistant under Fritz Crisler and was U-M's head coach from 1948 to 1958, compiling a 63-33-4 record. During his tenure, the Wolverines won or shared Big Ten titles three times, won the 1951 Rose Bowl and captured the national football championship in 1948.
Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert -- No. 11
Years after the retirement of Bennie Oosterbaan's No. 47, it was announced that No. 11 would disappear forever from the Michigan rosters, giving special recognition to three of the Wolverines greatest tackles, Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert. All three were voted first team-All-America, an accomplishment that has never been duplicated by three brothers on any level of intercollegiate competition. The Wisterts all have been enshrined in the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and inducted into the Michigan Hall of Honor.
Francis, a three-year letterwinner (1931, '32, '33) was the first of the three brothers to earn All-America honors at Michigan. "Whitey"was a part of three consecutive Big Ten football Championships, including back-to-back National Championships while at U-M. In addition to football, he also earned three letters in baseball and was selected as the Big Ten most valuable player in baseball in 1934. He played professional baseball for Cincinnati and assisted on the Wolverine grid staff in 1936 before entering the practice of law.
Albert earned three letters from 1940-42, while earning the nickname "Ox." He was selected the Most Valuable Player for Michigan in 1942 and played in the 1943 East-West game. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 1943 NFL Draft and played nine years with the Eagles. He served as the team captain for the Eagles from 1946-50. He earned All-Pro honors in six of his nine seasons and his No. 70 was retired by the Eagles in 1952.
Alvin, the third of the Wistert brothers to play at Michigan, was one of the oldest men to play college football at age 32 after serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. His career was even more remarkable since he did not play high school athletics but worked as a salesman until World War II. He was determined; however, to follow his brothers' footsteps. After a year at Boston University, he entered Michigan to win a defensive berth in 1947, and then became an All-America tackle on the Wolverines' national championship teams in 1948 and 1949.
Tom Harmon -- No. 98
Harmon had his "Old 98" number retired after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1940. One of the country's great backs of his era; he became U-M's first Heisman Trophy winner. During his three seasons with the Maize and Blue, he rushed for 2,134 yards, scored 33 touchdowns and kicked 33 PATs, and booted two field goals for 237 career points. He also threw sixteen touchdown passes. After a four-year stint as a pilot during World War II, in which he won a Silver Star and the Purple Heart, he married actress Elyse Knox and played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1946 and 1947. He became one of nation's top sports broadcasters and directors, reporting live on major sporting events from the Olympics to the Rose Bowl.
Ron Kramer -- No. 87
Kramer's No. 87 never will be worn by another Wolverine as he was the epitome of the rugged defensive end and also made impossible catches as an offensive end. Kramer was a two-time All-American (1955, '56) and earned nine letters in three sports -- football, basketball and track. Kramer was drafted in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 1957 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. He played for the Packers under Vince Lombardi in the early 1960's. As the prototype of NFL tight ends, he was named to the all-Pro team following the 1961 and 1962 seasons, as the Packers went on to win consecutive World Championships. Kramer finished his career with the Detroit Lions, following a trade involving Green Bay's No. 1 selection in the 1965 NFL draft. In 1981, he was the recipient of the NCAA's Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of significant professional and civic contributions spanning 25 years after completion of his college eligibility.