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His antics were legendary at the Alabama Crimson Tide football games – do you remember him?

While researching the story on the University of Alabama 1926 Rose Bowl game, I ran across some great photographs at the Alabama Department of Archives and the History of UA fans. One person stood out, not only for his antics at football games but for the many times he ran for public office.

Sometimes, when he campaigned, he wore a red-and-white suit covered with the words “Roll Tide.” He was only five feet tall, thus he was always known as “Shorty”.

There were several photographs of Ralph “Shorty” Price and if you attended games in the 50s and 60s, I’m sure you remember him. He was famous for his attempt at being Head-cheerleader at Alabama Crimson Tide football games, which sometimes landed him in jail.shorty-price-at-homecoming

In 1979, after Price pleaded guilty to public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges following the Alabama-Tennessee game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Circuit Judge William Cole told him “See you next fall” after imposing a $125 fine.Ralph Shorty Price - 1959

William Ralph “Shorty” Price, (October 3, 1921 – November 1, 1980) was an attorney and perennial political candidate from the state of Alabama, mostly noted for his colorful “clown” persona.shorty price

A native of Barbour County, he studied in the University of Alabama, where briefly he was a roommate of future Governor George Wallace. However, he was not a supporter of Wallace.

His lifelong devotion to Alabama football began when he was elected to the cheer-leading squad while at Alabama.

I wonder how he managed to be on the field for the coin toss above.

For decades, whenever he was always at Alabama games, usually “dressed in “garish outfits, smoking his trademark Tampa Nugget cigars and standing on the in-field wall exhorting the crowd to cheer with him. Price was as likely to be found dancing in the aisles as climbing the goalposts and almost always heavily inebriated.”ishortprice2-M

Price ran for many public offices in Alabama, including Governor four times and President of the United States in 1976, but he only won one election – as an alternate delegate to the 1952 Democratic National Convention.

I did not realize that he wrote a book until I discovered this photograph.Bear Bryant, shorty price author

I assume this is his book.

I Ain’t Nothing But a Loser: The Hard Life of Shorty Price

Price campaigned heartily against his former roommate, Wallace. His slogan was “Shorty, Shorty, he’s our man. George Wallace belongs in the garbage can.” In 1972 he proposed to shorten the Governor’s term from four to two years, but many claimed it was so he could run more often.

Although he was never a political power, Price became an important part of southern political and historical folklore in the storied and rich history of colorful candidates in the south. This story from the Tuscaloosa News on August 2, 2009, Shorty Price’s sharp wit sorely needed in politics today, provides a glimpse of what he was like as a political candidate.

In 1975 Shorty Price, recorded the following 45 RPM record titled, “Shorty Price Flies High To The Orange Bowl.

William Ralph “Shorty” Price was killed in an automobile accident near Montgomery in 1980 at the age of 59 on his way to attend the Alabama vs. Mississippi State game in Jackson, Mississippi. Alabama lost the game that day 6-3, bringing a 28-game win streak to an end.ii


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