Freddie Steinmark started at safety for the undefeated University of Texas Longhorns in 1969. In the thrilling “Game of the Century,” a come-from-behind victory against Arkansas that ensured Texas the national championship, Steinmark played with pain in his left leg. Two days later, X-rays revealed a bone tumor so large that it seemed a miracle Steinmark could walk, let alone play football. Within a week of the Arkansas game, his leg was amputated.
A gritty, undersized player, Steinmark had quickly become a fan favorite at Texas. What he endured during the Longhorns’ memorable 1969 season, and what he encountered afterward, captivated not only Texans but the country at large. Americans watched closely as Steinmark confronted life’s ultimate challenge, and his openness during his battle against savage odds helped reframe the national conversation surrounding cancer and the ongoing race for a cure.
Written with unfettered access to the Steinmark family and archives, Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football is the exploration of a brief but full life, one that began humbly but ended on a grand stage. It is a fitting tribute to a legendary Longhorn whose photograph, emblazoned with the word “Heart,” flashes on the Freddie Steinmark Scoreboard’s Jumbotron prior to each home football game in UT’s Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field.