Fred D. Wristen, a 1941 McClatchy High School graduate and sports sensation who was one of the top prep athletes in Sacramento, died Nov. 21 of cancer, his family said. He was 89.
He excelled at baseball, basketball, football and track in three years at McClatchy, lettering every year in each except track as a sophomore. He won many all-region honors and was widely regarded as Northern California's best all-around high school athlete.
But it was on the gridiron that he secured his legendary status in McClatchy lore.
In 1939, the speedy halfback scored a final touchdown to give the young school its first win, 13-6, against archrival Sacramento High School in the annual Turkey Day Game.
"He put McClatchy on the map," recalled Dolores Silva Greenslate, McClatchy class of 1942. "The year we beat Sacramento for the first time, we all ran up and down the street at McClatchy all night. We were so excited."
Mr. Wristen, who received pro baseball offers, went to the University of Nevada at Reno and played with NFL Hall of Famer Marion Motley. He left in 1942 to serve in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II.
He was born in 1922 to Ann and Fred Wristen Sr. in Sacramento. He worked as a Sacramento police officer before a career as grounds- keeper at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.
He had three children with his first wife, Sarah, who died in 1994. In 2003, he was inducted into the Christian Brothers La Salle Club Baseball Hall of Fame, which honors athletes from area schools.
Survivors include his wife, Lois, of Sacramento; daughter, Roseann Long of Vaca-ville; sons, Fred of Rio Linda and Mark of Susanville; brother, Hank of New Hampshire; stepdaughters Susan Hoovel, Cathy Griffin and Janet Munyer, all of Sacramento; stepson, Michael Sareeram of Sacramento; 16 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.
No service was held. Donations may be made to the La Salle Club at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento.
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