LOS ANGELES - He is alive and well. In fact, all three of them are. Steve Zaretsky, his twin brother, Mike, and their father, Dave, all are around to enjoy another Rangers Stanley Cup Final, 20 years after they held up the famous sign that said, "Now I Can Die in Peace."
Steve, 46, who lives in Bergen County, New Jersey, and works for a manufacturing company in Astoria, said that over the years his place in history might have seemed old. He joked that when reporters would call the house and ask if he was in fact the guy with the sign, his wife would sigh and say, "Yeah."
But he is relishing a second cup of fame's coffee now. "Ever since they made the Cup Final, it's been non-stop," he said on the phone from his office.
He recalled that even before Game 7 of the 1994 Final, the Zaretskys were known as the fellows with the signs in Section 72. They were photographed after having distributed a dozen "Oh Baby" signs in honor of then-analyst John Davidson's pet phrase.
It helped that Mike and Dave (a fan since 1953 and season-ticket holder since 1972) worked for a printing company back then, so the work was professional. The bittersweet moment amid the 1994 euphoria was that, after they had made their way into the locker room through various connections, they returned to find that their sign was gone.
A day later, someone had produced T-shirts bearing their slogan. The Zaretskys considered filing a lawsuit but were told by an attorney they didn't have copyright rights. Before their lawyer called back to say he had found a loophole that might allow for damages, Steve had settled for six dozen T-shirts.
No harm done. Steve said the three of them will be at the Garden for the home games, and they will have another sign. "I've been going back and forth about it," he said. "I don't want to give it away."