"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Sometimes Sports Are Great

For me, this is close to the fantasy of Reggie Jackson returning to play for the Yankees in, oh, say July of 1987. And then stepping in as a pinch hitter in his first game back, a scoreless tie in the bottom of the eighth, and blasting one into the upper deck in right field.

After changing his number from 44 to 42.

For fans, teammates and coach, the reaction was unbridled joy. But for the player himself, I can’t even imagine how it felt. This wasn’t a goal that won a trophy, but as William reminded us recently with Don Mattingly’s game winner from 1985, the best moments in sports often take place outside the narrow pursuit of a championship.


1 jen   ~  Jan 10, 2012 11:12 am

It certainly was a great moment. But all I could think (and will think until he's back in NY) is DON'T GET HURT.

2 Toxic   ~  Jan 10, 2012 11:19 am

It was second division (in old money) Leeds in the Cup. Great no. Over hyped yes. A dirty loathsome cheat of a player, at a dirty loathsome cheat of a club. But he won't be a true ARSEnal hero until he does time like so many that have been worshipped at that club.

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jan 10, 2012 11:31 am

[2] Advancing in the FA Cup is rarely a walk in the park, even at the early stages. Especially for a team as shallow and flawed as Arsenal.

And yes, Thierry Henry is a cheater, in the same sense that every single player in the history of football, american football, basketball and hockey (and most in baseball) is a cheater - they committed an infraction which was missed by the official.

I always love it when I can find common ground w/ fans of other squads ;)

4 jeremydneezy   ~  Jan 10, 2012 1:39 pm

A new chapter has been written in my favorite sports memories collection. When Henry slotted past the GK it was the first time I've teared up watching sports in quite some time. I'm man enough to admit it. Up the Arsenal!!!!

5 NoamSane   ~  Jan 10, 2012 6:04 pm

I was living in Boston, Summer of '87. Was able to wander in off Yawkey Way into the best seats at Fenway (for free! back then they'd open the gates around the 7th) in the late innings of Reggie's last game at Fenway. The fans gave him a standing O.... Just went and looked it up.

OAK v BOS, 19 July 1987

There were in fact 2 standing ovations. Reggie rose to the occasion, doubling to the opposite field in the top of the 8th. Then the Sawx tied it bottom 9. In the top of the 10th another big hand for Reggie, batting with the sacks juiced. And this has what has stuck in my memory all these years, he grounded weakly into a force out. Anti-climax.

I went home happy though, Canseco drove in 2 in the 11th and the game ended on a Boggs whiff.

6 Toxic   ~  Jan 11, 2012 7:11 am

[3] Honestly, getting past the 3rd round, at home, has probably never been easier for a side top half of the top flight, even a second string one that's a one man team ;-)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver