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.