New York Times Portraits of Grief

Sheldon R. Kanter

Alittle boy is born in Brooklyn on a late-July day in 1948, and though there are still plenty of innings left to play at Ebbets Field, and even a World Series to win, in his heart time has run out for the Dodgers. By the time he is old enough to count base hits, the boy, Sheldon R. Kanter, has turned to the Bronx, where Mickey Mantle is playing center field, and attached his affection to Mantle for keeps.

"He was so easy to buy presents for," said Mr. Kanter's wife, Tami. "Just get anything that had a 7 on it." Over the years he accumulated autographed cards, baseballs and — his favorit — a replica of his hero's pinstriped jersey.

Mr. Kanter, who was 53 and a vice president for system support at Cantor Fitzgerald's eSpeed division, stubbornly stood by the Yankees, even when his two sons, Evan and Adam, turned out to be Mets fans. "The subway series was not a happy place in this house," Mrs. Kanter said.

But there were other opportunities for harmony, like Giants and Knicks games. The family bowled together, taking home trophies. And every year for Father's Day, the Kanter sons gave their father tickets to the Yankees old-timers game. They went as a family, the boys gritting their teeth and Shelly Kanter happy as could be in his jersey with the 7 on the back.