Ex-Celtic Hank Finkel could give Jarrett Stidham an idea of what he might be in forSo far so good, right?
Hey there, Jarrett Stidham. Want to know what it’s like to take over the starting job in place of the greatest winner in the history of your sport . . . in front of Boston fans accustomed to championships every year? Give Hank Finkel a call. I can get you his number if you want.
Hank is 77 years old, lives north of Boston, and is uniquely equipped to tell you what lies ahead. Nicknamed "High Henry'' by Johnny Most, the 7-foot Finkel replaced Bill Russell as the Celtics center for the 1969-70 season after Russell won his 11th championship in 13 seasons.
Russell didn’t play out his contract and leave New England for Tampa. He flat-out retired. And it was pretty obvious that things were not going to be the same once he left.Now why do you suppose he said that, other than to just be a jagoff? It's probably that, combined with his continuing animosity of the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft, so saying anything remotely negative suits this purpose.
With no Russell, no Sam Jones (who also retired), a rookie coach in Tommy Heinsohn, and newcomer Finkel starting at center, the defending champion Celtics went 34-48 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons. Boston fans were not happy, and Finkel got far too much of the blame.Are we sure that Shank wasn't working at the Globe in 1969?
"When you win in New England, the fans love you,'' Finkel said via telephone this week. "But when you lose in New England, they want to run you out of town''
The rest of the column is solid.