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THE RUNNERS-UP
Frank Deford
December 19, 1977
By now Pel� seems more demigod than man: unique genius of soccer, messiah of the game in North America, goodwill ambassador extraordinary (the man for whom they interrupted the Biafran war). When he played his 1,363rd and last game in October before a Pel�-sized crowd of 76,000 in New Jersey and then was lifted onto shoulders, waving the flags of the U.S. and Brazil, the ovation bespoke worship as well as admiration.
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December 19, 1977

The Runners-up

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By now Pel� seems more demigod than man: unique genius of soccer, messiah of the game in North America, goodwill ambassador extraordinary (the man for whom they interrupted the Biafran war). When he played his 1,363rd and last game in October before a Pel�-sized crowd of 76,000 in New Jersey and then was lifted onto shoulders, waving the flags of the U.S. and Brazil, the ovation bespoke worship as well as admiration.

If Pel�'s moment rang like temple bells, Reggie Jackson's had a disco beat, the passions of the street. "Reggie!" they cried, over and over, when he hit homer No. 1 for the Yankees in the sixth, decisive World Series game against Los Angeles. Again, "Reg-gie!" for No. 2. And "Reg-gie!" in decibels to wake the Babe himself, whose single-game record he tied when No. 3 fell, hugely distant, beyond Yankee Stadium's center-field fence.

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