Last night I picked up another #8 jersey, this time for a summer hockey league. In addition to Willie Stargell, the great eight has graced the backs of quite a few athletes:
- Cam Neely, Boston Bruins. This snowman rides the rafters at the Fleet Center (Bank of America Center? Sorry, it’s still the Gah-den to me).
Cap Ripken, Jr, Baltimore Orioles. No comment needed, although on the cusp of this year’s
Mid Summer Classic a story is required. We saw Ripken play just once, in the 2001 All-Star Game in
Seattle. He homered.
- Yogi Berra, New York Yankees. Catcher of Larsen’s perfect World Series game, creator of malaproprisms, Jersey guy.
- Igor Larionov, Detroit Red Wings and (most recently) New Jersey Devils
It’s a game, finding eights on the field and in the environment. Not all of them are famous; not all of them are interesting.
I’ve planted my butt in seat #8, 10th row, of the 1980 Olympic ice hockey arena in Lake Placid,
trying to get roughly the same perspective as Jim Craig’s father.
Vadim Sharifijanov, first-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 1994 who skated with the team for parts of two seasons.
You probably haven’t heard of him, but he wore jersey #8 as well.
There’s no real point to this list. As number 8 has become ingrained in our family’s sports wear, we pattern match with the rest of the world. A goofy game, perhaps, but such are the origins of tradition.