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Yankees icon "Freddy Sez" had a special bond here

Fred Schuman loved the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club
Keith Groller – Allentown Morning Call

The New York Yankees lost one of their best all-time fans with the passing of Freddy "Sez" Schuman on Sunday. He was 85.

Schuman was an iconic figure at Yankee Stadium — both old and new — with his shamrock-labeled frying pan, his spoon and his colorful homemade signs that always began with "Freddy Sez".

He loved to roam the stands at the stadium, encouraging fans to hit the pan and make some noise to create some enthusiasm.

Schuman, who considers former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani among his friends, had a special bond with the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, especially LVYFC president Chuck Frantz of Northampton.

It was Frantz who led the drive to get Schuman's frying pan into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and into the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, N.J.

Frantz was regularly in touch with Schuman and was one of the first people contacted after his passing.

"I met him at a Yankees game about 15 years ago and struck up a conversation with him and learned more and more about him," Frantz said. "I always respected him and we became friends.

"After I began the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, we brought Freddy to the area several times for various fundraising events, including one for Zach Kraus, who is from Orefield and has been battling leukemia for much of his young life. Every time I would talk to Freddy, he'd ask about Zach."

Frantz said Schuman was a fan magnet at Yankee Stadium and would be asked to pose for hundreds of pictures every night.

"Whether you were a Yankee fan or not, you wanted your picture with Freddy," Frantz said. "Even fans from all over the world knew who he was and wanted their picture with him."

Schuman appeared in a baseball-themed MasterCard commercial and in a House of Pain music video.

"He was always polite and courteous with everyone," Frantz said. "He was a Yankee fan, but he was never rude about it. He just had fun with people, even Red Sox fans."

Frantz fielded all kinds of calls from New York media outlets right after Schuman died and was happy to speak well of someone who had become a close family friend. He also delivered a eulogy on Tuesday during Schuman's funeral in Brooklyn.

He was delighted that Schuman was honored during the pregame ceremony before Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday. The Yankees also had a moment of silence and put together a display to honor Schuman on the concourse level. The crowd chanted "Freddy!" after the moment of silence.

Schuman's memorabilia will be on display in the Yankees museum inside the stadium.

"I can't say enough about how well the Yankees handled Freddy's passing and how much class they showed in paying tribute to someone who really loved that team," Frantz said. "Freddy would have been thrilled because he told me that it was dream to be recognized by the Yankees. His dream came true."

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