In the 1970's the New York Giants were a complete disaster. Van Pelt was the stepping stone between 15 years of misery and the foundation of success that they've tenuously sustained since the mid-80's. I started to love the team in the late 70's, a dark time for Big Blue. Van Pelt was their lone superstar, a label I'm not sure he liked as he seemed a humble hard-working grunt. Van Pelt also changed the character of the team. They were once the Madison Avenue marquees of the Gifford Fifties. But with Van Pelt the team began to morph into blue collar tough guys bellied in the swamps of Jersey. I suppose he was the first sports hero I called my own and along with Harry Carson, my favorite all-time Giant.
Thanks goes out to The True Blue Review for the photo.