Winthrop resident Mike Eruzione scored the winning goal in the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Two days later Team USA beat Finland 4-2 for the gold medal. Sports Illustrated voted Eruzione’s winning goal and the gold medal achievement the Greatest Sports Moment of the 20th Century. And oh by the way, that century included some rather noteworthy feats by Babe Ruth, Mohammed Ali, Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Joe Montana, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Larry Bird, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan, to name a few.
But Eruzione’s unforgettable Olympic experience topped the list. His goal brought thrills to millions of fans and sent soaring the broadcasting career of Al Michaels, whose “Do You Believe in Miracles? …Yes!” still resonates.
The jersey that Captain Mike wore when he scored that thrilling go-ahead goal is up for auction to the highest bidder.
Memorabilia industry experts say that the jersey should garner a bid in excess of $1 million in the Feb. 23 auction, one of the highest amounts ever for an item.
Other Eruzione items to be auctioned off include the stick he used to score the winning goal; the jersey he wore in the gold medal game, the Cowboy hat he wore in the opening ceremonies, and “all the stuff that was sitting in my hockey bag in a trunk in my attic.”
Eruzione said he is selling the Olympic mementos of his breathtaking career for the right reasons.
“I just thought it was a great opportunity for me to do something for my kids,” said Eruzione. “Fortunately I’m doing it for the right reason, not the wrong reason. You read about a lot of athletes that have to sell their stuff because they need the money. I’m not in that situation.
“I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle so I have enough money for my wife and I to live comfortably - this is just an opportunity for me to give my kids a little something so that their kids are taken care of.”
A portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Eruzione family’s organization, Winthrop Charities, and to a scholarship at Boston University.
People can on line to Heritage Auction and bid on the items.
“The last I looked the jersey was up to $350,000 but this is in the early stages,” said Eruzione. “But from what they tell me the big players don’t come in to bid until later on.”
It is arguably the most famous hockey jersey in Olympic or NHL history. There is a genuine excitement in the hockey community, especially among memorabilia enthusiasts who are attempting to gauge how high the price will soar by the date.
Eruzione’s decision to put the items up for bid has generated national headlines. He has already made several appearances on television including ESPN and Fox TV and the story has been featured in many publications. He will be a guest on The Today Show on NBC the week of the auction.
“It’s going to be fun and interesting – my wife and I are going to New York to watch the auction take place,” said Eruzione. “After that, we’ll be heading to Florida for a golf tournament.”