Bobby Baun, the hero of the Maple Leafs 1964 Stanley Cup, has passed away
By Jon Steitzer1 month ago
Bobby Baun is one of many Maple Leafs players with specific lore attached him and today as Maple Leafs mourn his passing at the age of 86, I want to briefly reflect on that specific lore as it is a part of my personal path to Maple Leafs fandom.
I wasn’t always a Leafs fan. One of many unfortunate side effects of being born in Winnipeg meant that I started out as a Jets fan. My Dad, born during the pre-Jets era, was naturally a Leafs fan and one of his favourites (along with Mahovlich and Bower) was Bobby Baun.
Bobby Baun was about work ethic and that was his appeal to my Dad, but of course the story of the 1964 Stanley Cup that Baun is most famous for and the story my Dad told me that helped inspire me to become a Maple Leafs fan. Baun having left the game earlier on a stretcher returned in overtime to score the game winning goal against the Red Wings. The Leafs would go on to win the next game and the Stanley Cup with Baun again defying the odds and not only playing but scoring a goal. The fact that my Dad’s Maple Leafs defeated my Grandfather’s Red Wings likely added to the importance of Baun in my Dad’s eyes and hearing this story on my way to my first Leafs game at Maple Leaf Gardens was a big part of why you have to put up with me writing about the Leafs today.
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In the next few years I would have the opportunity to meet Bobby Baun at a Sportscard Show. For whatever reason I had him sign my hockey jersey and my sister had him sign a puck. After my sister passed away one of the first things I received of hers from my parents was the Bobby Baun puck. I believe my father is still unwilling to part with my jersey signed by Bobby Baun.
The past couple of days have been hard for the Maple Leafs community. Bobby Baun’s passing is the departure of one of this team’s legends from the glory days of the franchise and Rodion Amirov’s passing a robbery of a chance to live the dreams that players like Baun and the 1960s Maple Leafs created.
There are no words that do justice to a loss of life, so I offer my condolences and the condolences of everyone at The Leafs Nation to the friends and family of Bobby Baun as well as to Rodion Amirov.
“The Toronto Maple Leafs are deeply saddened by the passing of Bob Baun, whose enduring legacy of remarkable resilience includes his iconic overtime game-winning goal during a Stanley Cup final despite playing with a broken leg,” Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan said in a startement. “Bob possessed unquestionable toughness and incredible pride in being a Toronto Maple Leaf. His inspirational presence continues to embody the heart of the game. He will be greatly missed by the team and its fans. Our thoughts are with Bob’s loved ones during this difficult time.”
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