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Visit Freddy Sez

Read Keith Grollers
article about Freddy Sez

2010 World Series Trophy

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My story on Freddy "Sez"

About 15 years ago I visited Yankee Stadium quite frequently
and became familiar with the stadium and the surrounding

area. I noticed what appeared to be an elderly man that walked around the upper deck area.

He was always carrying a sign attached to a stick and this was attached to a frying pan. He would offer a spoon to fans, young and old, who would then bang it on the pan. Again and again I would watch as he climbed up and down the
steep steps game after game. I wondered if he was a homeless person who was soliciting fans for money. I was also amazed at how this older gentleman was agile enough to do this game after game in the heat, rain and cold as though he were a younger man. After years of observing this man, I became
more curious and finally approached him for an opportunity to perform the spoon-hitting-the-pan ritual as I had seen many fans do before. He graciously handed me the spoon and watched as I hit the pan. He then gave me a newsletter from a pouch he carried over his shoulder. I was amazed that he
would tote all this with him as he traveled up and down the stairs through the stands. It was then that I was able to speak to him and took advantage of this opportunity to find out more about this man. My first question was about his attendance at Yankee home games. He told me he is present at every home game but missed two games the year before and one game during the
current season. I quickly did the math and determined that there are 81 home games and missing only two meant that he had attended 79 games the year before. I thought WOW this guy goes through the spring when the temperatures can be very cold right through the summer when heat and humidity
has to be a real problem for a gent his age. I also learned that he always wears slacks - not shorts - to the games. I realized that this was one really dedicated Yankee Fan! He also told me that he makes two new signs for each game, one
stapled on each side of the stick.

On my numerous trips to Yankee Stadium, I found that I would look for Freddy to greet him before the games. He told me that he lived in an apartment in Manhattan and would travel by subway to and from the stadium. He has a regular routine beginning with his arrival about 1 ½ hours before game time. He walks around the outside of the stadium to pump up fans arriving for the game by encouraging them to take a few clangs on the pan. He also routinely hands out the newsletters which he writes with the help of his companion Suzie. He told me that it is possible to print these due to the generosity of his sponsors who purchase ad space in the publication. Although I realized that advertising in his
newsletter for my trophy and plaque business in Northampton, Pennsylvania would not result in new customers, I thought it would be a great way to help this Yankee fan continue his mission to promote the New York Yankees.
As a Yankee fan myself, I founded a fan club known as the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club which currently has 430
members comprised of people from the area who meet regularly one time a month. To the best of my knowledge, we are the
largest organized New York Yankee fan club in the country
and oddly enough, we are
located in the heart of Philadelphia Phillies area. My goal was to meet with other Yankee fans to talk about the team during the year, exchange thoughts about trades or other news regarding the team and to attend home or away games as a group. We are an incorporated nonprofit organization with members ranging from newborns to the oldest female member who is 86 years of age. We invite former baseball players, news reporters, writers and other persons of interest to speak at our meetings. The group also raises money for charities and regularly contributes needed items for our local food bank and a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Our mission was to promote baseball through charitable projects and chose to support the American Cancer Society, Dream Come True (a local organization that grants wishes to seriously or terminally ill children) and the Northampton Area Food Bank, Lehigh Valley Miracle League. We have had the pleasure to meet three families who have a child with a serious medical issue and have arranged for them to accompany our group on a bus trip to a game and receive an opportunity to meet with New York Yankee players. Our members are especially grateful to the New York Yankees and Jason Zillo for their assistance. We also support Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Special Olympics of both the Lehigh Valley and Bethlehem and Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley (support for victims of domestic violence). Along with financial support, we also take families of these groups along on our bus trips to games. Freddy Sez learned about our fundraising events and volunteered to attend an autograph signing at a card show in an area mall to help raise funds for one of our seriously ill children. I picked Freddy up at his apartment and drove
him to our event in Phillipsburg, NJ for the day. I even had baseball cards printed for Freddy to autograph. He was quite a draw to the sports fans attending the card show. He amused our members by telling us stories and also gave some dance lessons to the ladies...he is quite a dancer leading them in the fox trot, the lindy, ballroom dancing and a few more. I invited Freddy to accompany us to a game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. I picked him up on a Friday and brought him to stay with my wife and I in Northampton, PA. He was so excited about the opportunity to see a Yankee away game, but was even more excited when I arranged for him to visit the Babe Ruth Museum where they declared the day "Freddy Sez" Day and gave him the special VIP tour of the non-public area of the museum. As a thank you, Freddy gave them one of his special signs. From the moment our bus arrived at Inner Harbor in the morning to the departure
after the night game, Freddy was quite a hit. People who recognized him stopped to talk to him, bang the frying pan, get autographs and have photos taken with him. Some even used their cell phones to call family and friends with a
"You won't believe who's here in Baltimore" and asked him to bang his frying pan to prove it to the people on the other end of the phone! People even walked up to him while he was eating in restaurants to greet him and hit the pan. As he walked along the harbor fans would shout out to him from bars, stores, boats and just about everywhere. It certainly proved he has quite a following and he really enjoyed the attention. He had quite a weekend and was still excited when I drove him home on Sunday.
Freddy and I had a conversation about his signs one day and he confessed that he would like to donate his Lucky Frying Pan, sign and spoon to a baseball museum. I promised him
that I would look intoit and began my quest to fulfill his
dream. The members of the club have given him an
honorary lifetime membership to the club and were all in favor of helping me with my mission.

I wrote a letter to National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY as well as to the Yogi Berra Museum with my request that this donation be considered as a tribute to the enthusiasm of this one-of-a-kind dedicated baseball fan. I was extremely happy to hear from both museums that his donation would be
accepted. I was very proud to accompany Freddy along with some of our fan club members on a bus trip to Yogi's in May 2004 where one of his donations was accepted. It was truly a special moment when he met Yogi Berra and he even
commented "Chuck, I had trouble breathing when I met Yogi".

He volunteers at a senior center teaching dance lessons and playing cards with those in attendance. He loves telling stories about how he attended game seven of the 2000 World Series as a guest of former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani at
the request of Mr. Giuliani's son. He will amuse you with the details of his unexpected trip. He also attended game five of the 2003 World Series in Florida as the guest of Modell's. You can just feel the excitement as he
reminisces about his adventures following his New York Yankees. Freddy is quick to tell you stories that make him happy but he has also endured some problems with people who have not been kind to him. He also endured a major medical crisis a few years ago which resulted in heart surgery. It was a thrill for Freddy who was visited by Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani while he was hospitalized. They brought along the World Series trophy for him to see in the hospital. And again in 2009 he road on a float sponsored by Modell's during the World Series celebration in New York.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to tell Freddy that I received a letter from Sue MacKay that confirmed that the National Baseball Hall of Fame would be accepting his donation of the Lucky Frying Pan for the museum. There was a
quiver in his voice as he thanked me for helping him realize his dream. The entire fan club is thrilled about this opportunity for Freddy. Please accept my heartfelt appreciation to the National Baseball Hall of Fame organization for not only considering my request but for helping me fulfill the dream of a lifetime for this avid Yankee fan.


Chuck Frantz

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