Pelé brought renown to Santos, Brazilian port city and team

SANTOS, Brazil (AP) — Pele. Santos, Brazil.

Over decades, adoring fans around the world mailed thousands of letters, postcards and packages to the sports legend without his address or full name.

Almost without fail, they reached the office of Edson Arantes do Nascimento in the port city he made famous.

Santos was founded by the Portuguese in January 1546. It hosts Latin America’s biggest port, which feeds the Sao Paulo area and exports the country’s agricultural commodities to the planet.

Only after a 15-year-old sensation started scoring goals for the city’s team did Santos, a city of about 430,000 residents today, become a household name. The Brazilian great, who died Thursday at 82 after fighting cancer, played there from 1956 to 1974.

“There’s a Santos before Pelé and another after him,” said Serginho Chulapa, Brazil’s striker in the 1982 World Cup and a local hero with more than 100 goals for the club. “He put both the city and club on the map. Before him, people came to work at the port and go to the beach.”

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