Sports Q

Sports Q: Who is the person most synonymous with each major Boston sports team?

Tommy Heinsohn is referred to as "Mr. Celtic" by many Boston sports fans. Bill Kostroun / AP, File

Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, and email. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

With a lot of coverage of Tommy Heinsohn’s passing referring to him as “Mr. Celtic” and Johnny Pesky widely considered “Mr. Red Sox” who are their equivalents (beloved, respected, synonymous, etc.) for Patriots and Bruins? – Shawn M.

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Well, first, I agree the designations were fitting for both Heinsohn and Pesky – they were here for decades, held numerous roles with the organizations, and were ambassadors for the fans in a lot of ways. Even if you didn’t meet Tommy or Johnny, you felt like you knew them.

The Patriots’ version of them is easy: Gino Cappelletti. He was an original Boston Patriot, a superb player (as the AFL’s all-time leading scorer, it’s a joke he’s not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame), an assistant coach, and a beloved broadcaster for more than 25 years. As a person, he’s the epitome of class, the ideal representative for the franchise.

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It’s a little trickier with the Bruins. Three choices came to mind for me. Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk, and Milt Schmidt. I think the pick is probably Orr, though he did play for another franchise (let’s not get into that), and hasn’t held the myriad roles with the franchise that Heinsohn, Pesky and Cappelletti did with their teams. I’ll hear you on Bucyk – a Hall of Fame player who has had a role with the organization since the ‘50s. Schmidt played for and coached the Bruins, and was involved with the organization for more than 80 years – 80! – until his death in January 2017 at age 98.

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My choices to join Tommy and Johnny are Gino and Bobby. We’re on a first-name basis with all of them through the generations, aren’t we?

But what does everyone else think? Who are the legends most synonymous through generations with the Bruins and Patriots? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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