Near to Greatness

Over the last half century I have had the honor of meeting and interacting with so many greats in Boston sports. First and foremost, I am humbled and privileged to tell friends and family (and for that matter, anyone else who will listen) that I was so very fortunate to have played against hockey Hall-of-Famers Bobby Orr (hockey) and Ray Bourque (softball). When I first skated onto the ice at hockey camp (mentioned above), there were NHL stars with familiar names like Parent/Kelly/Selby/Hodge and one young blond crew cut instructor who had yet to play his first game, but whose reputation and potential were off the charts. I’m sure by now you know where I am going with this and I’ll get back to Mr. Orr later in this book.

While playing men’s league softball in Arlington I had just taken my customary position behind the plate when I looked up at the smiling face of one Mr. Raymond Jean Bourque. I remember trying to knock him off his game by kidding with him (like I could every really do that) that without a hockey stick in his hand he wasn’t going to be able to get a hit. After nearly taking our shortstop’s head off with one of the hardest hit line drives that I have ever seen, he reached first and turned to give me a wink that simply said “I told you so!”

I ran into Celtics’ legend Tommy Heinsohn outside a Southie dinner (in 1985) while on a sales call for Zep Manufacturing and he signed an autograph for Keith Anthony that said, “By the time you are old enough to read this, you’ll say who is this guy?” (I always thought he had a great sense of humor!).

After a hard day at work (Leading Edge in Canton) we usually adjourned to Shenanigan’s Pub across the street for burgers and beers. Imagine my surprise when standing next to me in line was none other than the undisputed middleweight champion of the world, Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

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