Franco & Me: Franco Harris Left Me With a Lifetime Memory

Franco Harris, Immaculate Reception, Steelers
Franco Harris, Aritotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis, Dr. J.

PITTSBURGH, PANFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris’ sudden passing was a shock to the sports world. It came two days before the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. Harris’ shoestring catch greets everyone at Pittsburgh International Airport in a full figure statue. The Reception is the most played highlight in NFL history. It defines the black and gold Steelers, but there was more to Franco than that catch.

In his 13 NFL seasons Franco made 9 Pro Bowls. He was a 4-time Super Bowl Champ, who was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. This Saturdays Steelers- Raiders game will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. They will also retire Harris’ number 32. Wait. You mean to tell me that number 32 hasn’t been put out of circulation?! Harris retired in 1984, he was crowned a Hall of Famer in 1990. Why isn’t his number up on the wall?

Franco HarrisIt was a little over a year ago when I attended the 75th birthday party of Reggie Jackson. I wore a shirt with different patterns of the birthday boy’s image. Harris approached me and said, “Reggie’s gonna love this.” He asked where I got that shirt and laughed heartily when I told him about my disappointment in not ordering a bunch of them, so I could outfit everyone at the party. He responded, “Aw man, imagine Reggie’s face when he walked in and saw that.”

I will never forget his smile and gentleness. When the great Mr. October acknowledged my presence at his milestone celebration, Harris gave me a thumbs up and said to me, “That’s so cool, he gave you a shout-out.”

I am so thankful to have been around Mr.Harris for that one moment. I can’t thank Mr. Jackson enough for inviting me to his party.

R.I.P. #32.

You left me a lifetime memory.

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About Aristotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis 118 Articles
Aristotle "Mugsy" Sakellaridis is the junkiest of baseball junkies. He plays in 4 leagues, well past his 40th birthday, and spends the winter in Florida shagging flies at Yankees minor league complexes. He's also a retired Riker's Island Corrrection Officer - having worked the night shift for 20+ years.