The phenom from Parry Sound, Ontario, was born on March 20, 1948. Blessed with impressive two-way skills, Orr was signed to an exclusive contract by the Boston Bruins at the tender age of 12 but league rules required that he wait until age 18 before he played in the league.
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Orr made his NHL debut in 1966-67 with a rugged effort against Gordie Howe's Red Wings and went on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year. He finished second among defensemen in scoring with 13 goals and 41 points, and his plus 30 rating spoke loudly of his formidable all-around play.
3 of 12Tony Triolo/SI
A swift, almost effortless skater and brilliant playmaker, Orr began revolutionizing the game by posting offensive numbers unprecedented for a backliner. He won two scoring titles and had six consecutive 100-point seasons (1969-75), including the first by a defenseman.
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Though his offensive exploits made headlines, Orr's defensive prowess was second to none. Unafraid of the physical game (or a fight) and able to use his speed to foil opponents' rushes, he won a record eight consecutive Norris Trophies, beginning with the 1967-68 season.
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This iconic photo of Orr captures him in mid-flight moments after scoring the overtime goal against St. Louis in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final that gave the Bruins their first championship in 29 years. Orr was the first defenseman to ever be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP. He scored 20 points in 14 games.
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Named SI's Sportsman of the Year for 1970, Orr proceeded to score a career-high 139 points in 1970-71, winning the second of his three straight Hart Trophies as the NHL's MVP.
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Orr remains the only player ever to win the Hart, Ross, Norris and Smythe Trophies in the same season (1969-70).
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The NHL's first million dollar player when he signed a five-year contract at $200,000 per season prior to the 1971-72 campaign, Orr proved to be worth every penny, scoring 37 goals and 117 points.
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The Conn Smythe was Orr's again as the Bruins beat the New York Rangers for the 1971-72 Stanley Cup. The silverware-winning goal was scored by Orr in Game 6, making him the first player to win the Smythe twice.
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Incessant, painful knee injuries plagued Orr, who had countless operations and ended up skating on little more than bone on bone. After setting a goal-scoring record for defensemen (46, in 1974-75), his playing time and production declined dramatically.
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Orr's agent Alan Eagleson, center, engineered a controversial deal with the Chicago Blackhawks before the 1976-77 season, but the backliner was limited by injury to only 26 games in the next three seasons, one of which he missed entirely. Refusing to cash his Chicago paychecks, the proud Orr retired in 1979 at the age to 31, with a total of 270 goals, 645 assists, and 953 points.
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With the mandatory three-year waiting period waived, Orr was enshrined in the Hockey of Hall of Fame in 1979, the youngest player ever inducted. In 1995, he was reunited with former Bruins Milt Schmidt, John Bucyk and Phil Esposito at a farewell ceremony for the old Boston Garden.
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