Number Four Bobby Orr

Number Four Bobby Orr is a compilation of articles that were published in Sports Illustrated about the defenceman, originally written between October 1966 and March 2009. It was a speedy read and had me glued to the pages. Unlike other collections of articles which I had found lacking in continuity and thus could only take a few articles at a time, Number Four tracked Orr’s career from his rookie year to what he was doing decades after retiring, so a coherent timeline was established. We followed each victory and NHL award along with, yet again, each knee operation.

Orr is a loyal and trusting man whose agent Alan Eagleson negotiated the highest ever salary for a rookie player back in 1966. By the end of the book Orr felt that Eagleson misled him about later signing deals and betrayed him out of millions of dollars.

Orr was and continues to be a most humble and generous person, giving himself selflessly to charities and making appearances at their events. During the ten years when he was the most famous hockey player in existence he rarely turned any request down. As interviews in this book show, even at the height of his fame he deflected praise to his teammates, asserting that the Boston Bruins’ victories were a team effort and not his doing alone. Yet when he became a free agent and signed with the Chicago Black Hawks he took his star power with him and attendance at the Boston Garden plummeted.

In 2020 Mark and I during one of our COVID Ontario holidays went to Parry Sound and visited the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. It was a small museum–Orr would have wanted it that way–which I was happy to tour and see every exhibit.

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