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State College Spikes To Honor Wally Triplett July 29

The State College Spikes will recognize a beloved Penn State icon this summer through a unique game theme.

On July 29, Spikes fans could receive a Wally Triplett bobblehead if they’re among the first 1,000 people to arrive at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The one-of-a-kind statue resembles Triplett’s look in the 1948 Cotton Bowl and even says “We Are” when pressed.

“All of us at the Spikes are honored to celebrate a trailblazer who transcended sports and made his mark on our entire culture in Wally Triplett,” Spikes President and General Manager Scott Walker said in a release. “Wally Triplett truly personified the spirit of ‘We Are’ in every way, and we look forward to joining with the Happy Valley community to celebrate his legacy together at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park this season.”

On Twitter, the Spikes said Triplett’s bobblehead was created in consultation with his family. Triplett died at 92 in November 2018.

“We are excited to see my grandfather’s legacy recognized by the State College Spikes this summer,” said Ayanna McConnell, Triplett’s granddaughter. “He was a humble and resilient man who paved the way for generations of athletes in college sports and the NFL. Although he began his family and professional life in Detroit, Grandpa Wally’s heart remained attached to Happy Valley.”

Triplett is often credited for inspiring Penn State’s famed “We Are!” slogan, which was later popularized by Penn State’s cheerleaders in the late 70s and early 80s.

As the legend goes, Triplett and Black teammate Dennie Hoggard were initially unable to play in Penn State’s 1948 Cotton Bowl matchup with SMU. As rumors swirled about Penn State meeting with SMU about potentially playing without Triplett and Hoggard, team captain Steve Suhey is believed to have said, “We are Penn State. There will be no meetings.” Triplett and Hoggard played and were the first Black players to ever appear in the Cotton Bowl. Triplett scored the game-tying touchdown in the 13-13 draw and later joined the Cotton Bowl’s Hall of Fame.

Triplett graduated from Penn State, served in the Korean war, and later joined the NFL. He played with the Detroit Lions for two seasons set a single-game NFL record of 294 return yards that stood for 44 years.

In addition to Triplett’s bobblehead giveaway, July 29’s 6:35 p.m. game will feature postgame fireworks, too. Head online to learn more about the Spikes’ upcoming MLB Draft League season and promotions.

State College’s season begins with a matchup against the Williamsport Crosscutters on Thursday, June 2.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email (mattdisanto86@gmail.com) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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