Bruce Harper enjoys staying on Fireman Ed's back
Bruce Harper retired 25 years ago, but even young Jets fans know his name. It's the one on the back of the No. 42 replica jersey still worn by the team's most visible fan: "Fireman Ed" Anzalone.
Then again, perhaps some young fans aren't quite clear about the name thing.
"They think his name is Harper," Harper said Thursday at Giants Stadium after a news conference to promote memorabilia sales from the doomed building.
"Once we were walking around outside the stadium and Eddie was there with the jersey and people were running to him, 'Will you sign my autograph? Will you take a picture with me?'
"I was standing right next to him. He starts to tell them, 'Hey, this is Bruce Harper.' I said, 'No, no, that's OK. I'm enjoying it.'"
Harper said he appreciates the fact Anzalone has stuck with him.
"I feel so good about it. It’s been a long time since I played and after all these years and all the ballplayers that have come through, all the great players whose jerseys he could have worn, he still wears my jersey. That is unbelievable. It’s such a great compliment.
"I was worried some day I was going to have to start paying him to wear it. But he’s faithfully kept it going."
Harper said he and Anzalone have gotten to know one another "a little bit" from making joint appearances at events.
"I can call him my buddy, my friend," Harper said.
Photo: David Pokress