STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford’s Larry Miller supported the New York Giants football team his entire life, including more than five decades as a season-ticket holder. The Giants returned the favor when he needed them most.
The Giants produced an inspirational and heartfelt video for Miller, featuring messages from Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and other players. Unfortunately, Miller, 80, died just days before the encouraging words from the team arrived.
“I know my dad can see it now, he’s watching from heaven,’’ said his son, Jeff, a Trumbull resident, who contacted the Giants. “They’re a class act.” Click here to watch the video.
Miller died after a tenacious fight with leukemia. He was also a huge baseball fan. He presided over the Stamford American Little League program for decades, and its field on Kane Avenue is named after him. He was active in a number of Stamford organizations, including Stamford Old Timers, Agudath Shalom Chorale, Stamford Softball Umpire Association and the Jewish Community Center.
Miller loved all sports, including the teams at the University of Connecticut, and grew up in the Bronx as a fan of Willie Mays. His sons, Scott, of Weston, and Russ, of Norwalk, are also heavily involved in youth baseball programs in their communities.
He was most loyal, however, to the Giants. He held season tickets for 53 years, going to games at the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Yale Bowl, Giants Stadium and their current home, MetLife Stadium. He and his wife of 53 years, Barbara, attended two Super Bowls in which the Giants played.
Jeff contacted the Giants as cancer fought his father more aggressively. He explained his father’s health issues to a member of the team’s front office, and asked if there was anything the team could do. A member of their video production crew contacted Jeff on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The Giants representative said the team would put together a video.
Miller died on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Jeff received the team’s video on Monday, Nov. 28.
“I thought it was tremendous of the Giants to do that,’’ Jeff said. “I was thrilled that they wanted to do something to wish my dad well.”
Larry was a fan of Victor Cruz, who was born in Paterson, N.J., which is also his wife’s hometown. The last game he attended was a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 14.
“He always went to the same entrance,’’ Jeff said. “He bought three programs every game from the same vendor. This time, he could barely walk. We had to use a different entrance. He walked all the way back to the vendor he bought the programs from, which was halfway around the stadium. He didn’t want to miss him. It just goes to show how he was with people.”
Jeff took his son, Tyler, and his nephew, Danny, to the Giants home game on Nov. 20 against Chicago. Tavarras King, a wide receiver, tossed his gloves to the boys after coming off the field for warmups. Moments later, Cruz came over and signed them for the boys.
Larry was also a huge fan of Lawrence Taylor, the Hall of Fame linebacker. When the team came to Stamford for a benefit basketball game at the JCC, LT pinned Miller against the wall while playfully battling for a rebound. “My dad loved it,’’ Jeff said. “It was such a great moment.”
Even for away games, Miller made it a point to watch his Giants. “It was a ritual,’’ Jeff said. “He went to watch them at practice at Pace University. He’d call me after they’d win a big game. We literally did everything around the Giants games. He just loved the Giants.”
The team’s video shows his family that for all of that support, the team also loved him back.
Click here to read Miller’s obituary on the Gallagher Funeral Home website.