In his 1984 hit "Glory Days," Bruce Springsteen opened the song about a friend who was a star pitcher back in high school. Like many of Springsteen's characters, the guy who had a "speedball" who could "make you look like a fool" was based on a real person.
That person, according to the New York Times, is a man named Joe DePugh, a 61-year-old self-employed contractor who splits time between Vermont and Florida these days.
Springsteen and DePugh graduated high school in 1967 and didn't see each other again until 1973. That's when, as the song says, Springsteen was walking in and DePugh was walking out of a bar on the Jersey Shore, and they decided to sit down for a few drinks and talk about the old times.
After moving to Vermont, DePugh mentioned this chance meeting with Bruce to a friend, who turned out to be a big Springsteen fan. When "Glory Days" was released on the "Born In The USA" album, his friend told DePugh: This is song is about you.
DePugh was dubious until he heard the song played on the radio.
"My wife starts bawling," DePugh told the Times. "That’s how I knew exactly that it was me."
Although the song and the album were huge hits, DePugh didn't connect with Springsteen again until 2005 when a classmate arranged a get-together.
"Bruce pulls in and I point at him and he points at me, and that’s when the hugging started," DePugh told the Times.
DePugh, who was good enough to earn a tryout with the Dodgers, also broke some news of his own in the story. Before he became The Boss to millions, Springsteen was known as "Saddie," the right fielder, to DePugh.
This is the second Springsteen character to be linked an actual person in recent years. In 2008, "More" magazine revealed that Diane Lozito, Springsteen's girlfriend in the 70s, was the inspiration for "Rosalita."
But one mystery remains, and it has a sports connection as well. Many fans believe that Springsteen's 2007 song "Gypsy Biker" is a story about Pat Tillman.
Bonus baseball trivia: Check out the video for "Glory Days" below, and in the cheesy epilogue, listen for Springsteen dropping the name of a former Yankees and Padres third baseman.