Friday, September 25, 2020

On November 10th, 1968, I was ten and raking leaves with my dad in our front lawn in Winnetka while listening to the Chicago Bears-San Francisco Forty Niners game on the transistor radio. That was when I heard the worst news I had ever heard: Gale Sayers was hurt.

My parents became concerned because I was crying so long in my room so they suggested it would make me feel better to write Mr. Sayers a get-well letter. Right then, I called “The Chicago Tribune” sports department and asked a gruff-sounding sports writer for Mr. Sayers’s home address. In what could never happen now, he gave it to me.

In the letter, I did not ask for an autograph or a picture, I simply said I was sorry that he got hurt and that I knew he would come back 100%. 

Two weeks later, a manila envelope arrived. In it was an 8-by-10 glossy picture rookie picture - like the one above-  of Gale Sayers with a shaved head and jumping in the air in the Heisman Trophy pose. The writing said, “Thanks for the nice letter, all the best, Gale Sayers.”

Rest in peace, Gale Sayers. There will never be another like you.