Gino Cappelletti, versatile star of the Boston Patriots, has died at the age of 89

Cappelletti was one of only three players to have participated in all of their team’s games over the course of the AFL’s lifetime – 14 regular season games in each of 10 seasons. The others were Giorgio Blandaquarterback and kicker of the Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders, and Jim Otto, the center of the Raiders.

Cappelletti retired after 10 seasons in AFL and one in the NFL with 292 receptions for 4,589 yards and 42 touchdowns, along with 176 field goals, 342 extra points and four two-point conversions.

Credit…Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe, via Getty Images

Survivors include his wife, Sandy; three daughters, Gina, Cara and Christina; and 10 grandchildren.

In the first three seasons, the Patriots played their home games at Boston University, Nickerson Field. They moved to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, in 1963.

“We felt like we were legit because it was a major league venue,” Cappelletti he told the New York Times in 2012, reflecting on AFL’s alleged inferiority complex as a long-range challenger to the NFL

“But”, he acknowledged, “we still had a long way to go.”

To prevent a team from blocking the view of the spectators in the low seats along the Fenway first base line, the benches of both teams were placed on the same sideline, facing a temporary grandstand adjacent to the left field wall known as Green Monster.

“This has led to some crazy things,” Cappelletti recalled. “We could wander by their bench and eavesdrop on their phone call.”

He recounted a game where the Patriots put that plan into action against the Kansas City Chiefs manager:

“I remember Hank Stram asking for swipes across the screen and us screaming in our defense about what was coming.

Jordan Allen contributed to the report.