I was driving to pick up my kids yesterday afternoon when I happened to look down at my phone and see this tweet from Darren Rovell:
Dolph Schayes played in 764 straight games. The Syracuse Nationals jersey he wore at the beginning of the streak pic.twitter.com/zeE0HemrdG— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 10, 2015
I saved the picture to my phone and sent it in a text to my father and his new iPad, hoping to make his day. I then walked into the daycare to pick up my daughter.
When I returned to the car with my daughter I had a reply from my father:
Dad: That is when basketball was basketball. That is his autograph or at least a good forgery
Me: Darren Rovell tweeted it out. I figured it would make your day.
Dad: Yes it did. If there were a three-point shot in his day he would have averaged 5-6 more points a game. He was known for the two handed set shot. The radio announcer would go "Set shot Schayes, yes! yes! yes!" It is still the best autograph I ever got.
I knew it would make my father's day because Dolph Schayes resides on the Mount Rushmore of his childhood. There is Jim Brown, Willie Mays, Ernie Davis and Dolph Schayes.
I drove away in my car headed for home while listening to sports radio when I heard the bad news. Dolph Schayes had passed away. It all made sense now as to why Rovell would be tweeting about Schayes. Even worse it was clear my father did not know yet.
My father, with iPad in hand, started to google the name of that Syracuse Nationals radio announcer whose call he could still hear in his head six decades later. During this search my father got the bad news for himself. Mr Schayes was gone.
When I got home I texted my father the bad news that he had already discovered on his own.
Dad: He was my favorite player of all time. I copied his set shot as a kid growing up in Syracuse. He was the man. RIP Mr Schayes. Sad day.
I then went to the internet later that night to find some articles and video clips to send to my father. He responded a couple hours later:
Dad: Thanks. We were out drinking a PBR for Dolph. Great video of the high arching set shot on the end of PTI today. Lucky to have seen him play so many games. I used to sit on the stage behind the basket for 50 cents a ticket. Think about that for a minute. I was able to see the best, up close and personal. Dolph, Ernie, Jim and Willie. I wouldn't trade my time period with anyone!!
R.I.P. Mr. Schayes