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Full Version: 1972 Topps Rookie Pickup
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Ahh! The good old days! Mmm....maybe not. The summer of 65, or was it 66? I had suddenly grown to 6'3", and learned how to dunk. Our East Harlem team was playing in a summer Basketball tournament held at Mt. Morris Park in Harlem. We were a young confident average team that held its own.

This particular Saturday was different. We had the early game, playing a team from Yorkville. This would be a piece of cake....a walk in the park. Yorkville! There are no ball players in Yorkville! Yorkville was a neighborhood bordering East Harlem, at that time primarily an Irish and German neighborhood. No problem.....

I arrived late, my team was already on the layup line. Our coach looked at his watch...I didn't worry, I knew I was starting anyway. I quickly changed and joined them. My buddy EG (RIP), pulled me to the side. He pointed out this player warming on the other team, his name was Roche. My assignment....stick on him like glue....rumor is he is good. No Problem.

Long story short....Rolleyes There were no three pointers then, but he was shooting them. Making everyone of them, from every spot. Every time I tried playing him tight, I was crossed over tripping over my feet, as he made the layup. The crowd oooood and ahhhhed every time he used me. But wait! A defensive rebound; ball passed to me...fast break, I got him now. Almost to the rim... And then.... Bam! He and a teammate, yes two of them slammed me and the ball, pinning it and my arm to the backboard. It felt like I was stuck up there for a few seconds. When released, I crumbled to the ground with a bloody arm. Damn!

We were schooled.... I was owned! I've been haunted by this memory for decades, but today is different.
I can now say that.... I OWN JOHN ROCHE! My latest pick-up Wink

[Image: JOHN%20ROCHE%20RC001_zpsoftgefcy.jpg][Image: JOHN%20ROCHE%20RC002_zpsnphyjtsf.jpg]

Great story, great card, thanks for sharing.

My only similar claim to fame is playing against former MLBer Tony Clark in a high school basketball tournament.

At the time he was committed to the University of Arizona for basketball.

He came down on a fast break and I was the first one back, so I tried to "stop ball" ... and he literally faked me out with his eyes!

He drove past me and dunked on my friend Bernie so hard that when he swung slightly upward on the rim, he accidentally kicked Bernie in the face with both shoes!

The only consolation is that he (Tony, not Bernie) ended up playing baseball for my beloved Detroit Tigers.

I sent him a card along with a letter where I told him that story, and he sent the card back signed. It's one of my favorites to this day.