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 Post subject: RIP Giorgio Chinaglia
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:39 pm
Posts: 22630
Location: Jersey City
I may be the only person on NYFS who knows who Giorgio Chinaglia was, but he and the Cosmos were a big part of my sports fan life at one time.

I was 11 when US pro soccer first appeared on TV and the sport was so obscure that I could not buy a soccer ball anywhere in Danbury, CT, a city of 50,000 people.

The sport was dying on the vine less than 10 years later when the Cosmos signed Pele.

Chinaglia and numerous other international stars came along within a few years and the Cosmos were drawing crowds in excess of 70,000 (and I was often among those crowds).

By all accounts, Chinaglia was not a nice person, but he is the all-time scorer in the history of the old NASL and he was a compelling personality in a villainous way.

For those who don't like the gee whiz, captain cliche answers of so many sports stars, Chinaglia always said what was on his mind, even if it offended opponents and teammates, and that candor later served him well in his role as a TV analyst on World Cup telecasts.

He later owned the Cosmos and also was chairman of his old Italian team, Lazio of Rome. He also got in trouble on share-fixing charges related to his attempt to buy Lazio.

It's also a bit of figurative cold water to the face when I realize that a man I followed when he was in his athletic prime was 65 when he lost his life to a heart attack.

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Hats off to Sandy. Hats off to the Wilpons. And don't forget Yoenis Cespedes, a star who wanted to stay a Met.

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