IOWA ICON: Nile Kinnick

Some of Iowa’s sporting legends remember Hawkeye-great Nile Kinnick
Andy Fales | Reporter |
November 25, 2009

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We got just 24 years of Nile Kinnick, but the impact he made in each stage of his life was profound enough to last.

“He was not a great baseball player,” says Bob Feller, the baseball legend who grew up playing American Legion ball with Kinnick in nearby Van Meter. “He used to take a football to baseball practice and practice drop-kicking the football right behind home plate at Riverside Park in Adel, which is named after him and me.”

From that field in Adel, it was easy to notice the square-jawed kid with the dark hair. He played hard. He played fair. He knew what he wanted.

“They always used to call him ‘junior’ or ‘june’–well, he hated that. And when he went to college, he told everybody ‘don’t call me junior or june, my name is Nile,’” adds Feller.

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