My earliest recollection of being a Rangers fan occured on November 1, 1959. Andy Bathgate launched a backhander (contrary to many reports it was not a blazing slapshot) into the face of Jacques Plante. The game was delayed for a half hour while Plante was stitched up and he returned to the game wearing a mask. I remember my Dad sitting on the side of my bed as we listened to the game. I believe Jim Gordon was the announcer. I told Dad the Rangers were going to win for sure because Plante was wearing a mask. Dad said, "I'm not so sure about that". The Rangers didn't score for the rest of the game.
I went to my first hockey game on January 31, 1964 at the Long Island Arena. My beloved Long Island Ducks were playing the Johnstown Jets and Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell were in attendance at the game. Harry's brother Ron was a Canadian Football League star and after football season he would come to Long Island and play for the Ducks. I was able to speak to them and get their autographs on the game program. I couldn't believe my good fortune at meeting the two stars of my beloved Rangers. Incredibly, just three weeks later
(2/22/64) Bathgate was traded to Toronto for Rod Seiling, Arnie Brown, Bob Nevin and Dick Duff.
Later when I worked in minor league hockey I had the honor of meeting with Harry Howell on a number of occasions. I found him to be a gracious and kind man.
I am thrilled to be able to attend Sunday night and salute two players who meant everything to me over 40 years ago.
To me, Harry Howell was the dependable workhorse, just inches short of super stardom, who gave 100% effort every night. His type of player has all but disappeared from sports -- a career lifer with one team who never seemed to complain and just did his job, no matter how bad the team was. And believe me, the Rangers teams in the early 60's were pretty bad. In that era,, it took years to overhaul a bad team and players had little say in where they were headed. Having gotten the chance to meet him off the ice, I was very impressed by how genuine and sincere a man he was. Just a great guy.
I never had the chance to meet Andy Bathgate but to me he was Cinderella in a dysfunctional family. He was an elegant, hard driving player, very creative and a wonderful passer. He was the Rangers one scoring star in this very desperate era. He was Mr. Ranger much in the way that Brian Leetch was regarded during his career. When he was traded to Toronto (with Don McKenney) he brought back three players (Bob Nevin, Rod Seiling & Arnie Brown) who would be regulars on the revived Rangers well into the 1970's. His trade came on a Saturday afternoon just before a Rangers-Leafs Saturday night game on WOR. Win Elliot kept advising viewers not to adjust their TV because Bathgate was indeed playing for the Leafs. As I remember it , the trade was heavily rumored as a chance to get Andy a Stanley Cup before he retired (although he did play a few more yers)
I remember watching Bathgate and Howell play in the early 60's. The trade shocked some fans, but Rod Seilig and Arnie Brown were two rookies who turned into good players. Jacques Plante also came to NY that year, and we all wanted to wear a mask like his when we played pond hockey.
This all seems strange and somewhat uninteresting to me as these guys played and retired before I (and plenty of posters here) was yet born.
Originally Posted by MalkinFan71
I don't have any... which means they should've done this 30 years ago...
Fellows, I understand that younger fans do not know much about Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell but it would do each of us some good to understand the history and tradition of this team. There was a Rangers franchise long before 1994. Being a Ranger fan is not something that comes and goes -- For most of us here (no matter how long) it has been a passion since we first got interested in hockey and in many families it's the result of generations and generations of devotion to the team.
During the presentation on Sunday one of the produced videos talked about how being a Ranger fan is passed down through generations from father to son. When that video played I cryed like a baby. I can't tell you how much I wished my Dad was there with me Sunday to see those great players honored. Hopefully, someday you will be bringing your kids to the Garden to see other championships celebrated, players honored and sweaters retired.
I just wanted to thank you for the memories and tell you that your last post was very well spoken. (or would that be written?) Anyway, while I am younger then you, I started to watch the Rangers in the mid 70s, and I am surprised at how many of today's fans say that 1994 iswhen they became fans. I am glad to see that they stuck around, but like you, my fandom came from family. My Uncle, dad, and cousin all made sure that I was a Rangers fan, and I am glad they did. I welcome all of these stars that they remember, and actually get a warm fuzzy when I see teams like the Blackhawks doing the same. If you are afraid of running out of numbers do them as banners of honor, and allow the numbers to be reused, but for God's sake, there are a lot of good men that need to be recognized for what they did for the Broadway Blues!
Last edited by BringBackLibertys: 02-24-2009 at 02:24 PM.
My first memory of the Rangers is sort of strange but it involves Bathgate. I can't even place the year but it was around 1958. For some strange reason my Mom decided to take a walk of about a mile to the area of the Bronx where she had grown up and shop in a "diary store." I even remember the type of cheese she purchased. What was strange is that the store was on Bathgate Avenue. Later, when we got home, I remember turning on the TV, watching hockey and seeing a star player named Bathgate. Somehow a connection was made in my mind. That's my first NYR memory.