Serving the High Plains

Publisher's journal: Baseball friends best part of game

I remember the first time I met Jerry Seidenwurm.

He told me the saddest baseball story I think I’ve ever heard.

Jerry was maybe 10 years old, growing up a Giants fan in New York in the mid-1950s. His dad was drinking buddies with Giants Owner Horace Stoneham.

When Jerry learned that his dad knew Stoneham, he made it his mission to speak with the team boss so he could ask him about a dream held by every baseball-obsessed young man: Could he be a batboy for the Giants?

Stoneham sized him up and asked if he were serious, because a batboy had a lot of responsibility and he had to be at every Giants home game since the players would depend on him.

Yes, Jerry told him, he was up to the task. Stoneham said bat boys had to be 14, but when Jerry was old enough, he could have the job.

The years passed slowly and then there was devastating news following the 1957 season when Jerry was 13.

“So,” Jerry asked his dad, “when are we moving to California?”

“We’re not moving to California,” he was told. “Why do you ask?”

“Because Mr. Stoneham said I could have a job as a batboy next year. They’re in San Francisco now, so we have to move.”

They didn’t move. There was a lot of crying in baseball in those days.

But Jerry Seidenwurm’s loyalty went to California with Willie Mays and those Giants. He remained a Giants fan for the rest of his life, passing that baseball passion all the way down to his granddaughter, who named her dog Buster Posey after the Giants catcher.

He moved to Albuquerque from Clovis several years ago.

He didn’t do social media, but we emailed and snail-mailed a few times. I sent him some baseball reference books and a program from the Giants 2010 World Series against Texas. He sent me Joe Posnanski’s instant classic “The Baseball 100” and about a dozen 1950s-era baseball cards, including Sam Jethroe and Minnie Minoso.

And we communicated a few times through a mutual friend, Jerry’s wife Rhonda Seidenwurm, the former superintendent of Clovis schools.

We lost Jerry suddenly on Thursday evening. He was 78.

Jerry said I had a standing invitation to visit so he could show me his office filled with baseball cards and books and it’s my understanding that tour would have taken longer than a doubleheader.

I never made it and I’ll always be sorry about that, but I’m sure glad I got to know him a little. Baseball friends are my favorite part about the game.

David Stevens is editor and publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Email him at:

[email protected]

 
 
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