The House Of Usher

Why baseball fans need babysitters.

Why baseball fans need babysitters.

picture dayWelcome to another midweek peek into the frighteningly awful world of shitty photography, as The Nest opens up its album full of scary photo fails for another edition of Picture Day Wednesday!  I had just been going through one of my old online albums last week, and one of those pictures was quickly brought to mind again Monday when I saw a story that was on the home page of ESPN’s Major League Baseball site.  I figured the time my path unknowingly crossed with this unsung legend of baseball history would make a write up for my Wednesday feature…

The Man... The Myth... The Usher.

The Man… The Myth… The Usher.

When I traveled to Pittsburgh in September 2010 to watch a couple games from PNC Park, I wound up in Section 26 right behind third base for the first of those two games.  I was bemused by the very elderly usher who was patrolling my section… and even offered up this caption when I uploaded the photo of him to my Photobucket account:

My section had the world’s oldest usher. If he didn’t work at Forbes Field, I’ll never believe it.

Forbes Field, incidentally, was the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to 1971… and yes, this usher DID work at Forbes Field.  For 35 seasons!

His name is Phil Coyne, and at the youthful age of 98 he just wrapped up his EIGHTIETH (That’s 80… eight-zero… LXXX!) year of working as an usher for Pirates games!  I had absolutely no idea about his amazing career until three years ago when the Pirates made the playoffs after a long postseason drought and they interviewed him during the game.  That even came after the first time I showed off this picture on my blog when I continued to poke fun at the guy who I apparently underestimated as likely being in his 80’s (He was 92 years young during my encounter)…

Oh look.... the young whippersnapper is making fun of his elders again!

Oh look…. the young whippersnapper is making fun of his elders again!

When you’ve been on the job as long as Coyne has, you’re not about to let people take advantage of you or commit any tomfoolery in your domain.  Phil made sure everybody in his field box sections, including me, was sitting in the whatever seat was printed on our ticket…. and anyone trying to move closer to the field with a cheapass nosebleed seat was sternly told to take a hike.  And absolutely no hooliganism was allowed…

This would have never happened on Phil's watch.

This would have never happened on Phil’s watch.

Congrats to Phil Coyne on his marvelous 80 year career… which he doesn’t plan on ending so long as his body is up to the task at the beginning of next season!  I’ll return next Wednesday with another photo taken by technology that didn’t exist back in 1936…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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18 Responses to The House Of Usher

  1. it’s great that we still have such people like this usher…. it’s amazing to ponder about their life and it gives hope that things are not always bad for all :O)

  2. That is truly remarkable! The usher and the fans (though theirs not in a good way). We likewise send our heartfelt congrats to a guy who clearly loves baseball and possesses tons of class.

    • He’s already a pretty popular guy out there… especially among the season ticket holders in his sections. I’m surprised I didn’t hear about his legacy while I was there…

  3. draliman says:

    Now that’s dedication! The things he’s seen…

  4. Trisha says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! Imagine putting up with idiotic behavior for all those years. I bet he’s got a lot of great stories to tell.

    • I’ll bet I’d have a lot of great stories of idiotic behavior if I worked at Mecca for 80 years… though I’m not sure my carcass is gonna make it around to see 102!

      • Trisha says:

        Same here. With my cholesterol profile, I’m pretty sure my chances of amazing people by being active at a very old age are slim at best.

  5. That is a VERY long run at any job. I’m assuming that he keeps doing it because he loves it and not because if he stops working, he’ll starve? I hope so, anyway. I actually can believe he loves it that much. I think if Garry could, he’s be in Fenway as long as he can stand up 🙂

    • The article said he’s a retired machinist, so I’m assuming he has a pension that provides his main income. Back when Mecca actually had door greeters, guys like Phil were commonplace… retired folks who were working more for something to keep them active than for money. I’ll bet continuing to usher has helped keep him alive all of these years…

  6. Quirky Girl says:

    80 years is a long time to be doing…well, anything. Wow!

  7. Merbear74 says:

    I bet he hates the smell of stale beer.

  8. Yay for Mr. Coyne! He’s doing what he loves……we should all wish that for ourselves in our later years – – – – wait – – – – I’m already in my later years!!


  9. Peyton says:

    That is amazing. He has to walk up and down the steps at 98. I only hope I can be alive and half as active as him.

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