April 25, 2017

Gilbert Leroy "Buddy" Dial

   "Buddy" Dial was born January 17, 1937 in Ponca City, Oklahoma, but grew up in Magnolia, Texas where he played high school football. After graduation, he played as a two-way end at Rice University. In 1956 he had 21 receptions, averaged 17 yards on each, made five touchdowns, and was selected sophomore lineman of the year in the Southwest Conference. In 1957 he had 21 receptions and was named All-SWC. He helped Rice to the conference championship in the Cotton Bowl, and was named to the All-Bowl All-Star team. In 1958 he caught 19 passes. He was the team’s co-captain and named Most Valuable Player. Dial also received consensus All-American and the Columbus Touchdown Club Lineman of the Year honors. For his career at Rice he had 13 touchdowns, tying the school record.

   Dial was drafted in the second round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but was cut by the team before the season started. He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he became a star after being teamed with quarterback Bobby Layne. He held the team record for touchdown receptions in a season and was an All-Pro three times. While playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dial recorded an album of inspirational songs called Buddy Dial Sings on Word Records.

   In 1964, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded him to the Dallas Cowboys, in exchange for the rights of their first round draft choice Scott Appleton. However, Appleton ended up signing with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, who had also drafted him in the first round. The transaction became known as the "Buddy Dial for Nothing" trade. His three-year career with the Dallas Cowboys was a disappointment, where injuries and addictions to prescription drugs, limited his playing time. In 1966, while still assigned to the Dallas Cowboys, Buddy Dial recorded a single with Challenge Records 59352, called Baby/Back In The Old Days. Baby became a huge hit in various regional areas, topping the Dallas radio charts in 1966-1967, but failed to make the national charts.

   Dial finished his career with 261 receptions for 5,436 yards, and 44 touchdowns, and 14 yards on four rushes. He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice, in 1961 and 1963 and inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Injuries during his NFL career led to significant health problems brought on by the abuse of painkilling drugs, before receiving treatment in the late 1980s. He died on February 29, 2008 at the age of 71, of complications with cancer and pneumonia.

Note: Buddy Dial's grave is presently unmarked. It is located between the graves of Gene Ray Austin and Theresa Elizabeth Moody.

30° 08.256, -095° 39.507

Section B
Klein Memorial Park

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