Through 14 presidents and 3 ballparks, Phil Coyne has been an usher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, for 81 years!
And now, at the age of 99, he has decided to retire.
Coyne has been escorting fans to their seats since 1936, the same year the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted its first members, a group of five players that included Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth.
At the time, Coyne was 18 years old, and the Pirates’ games were played at Forbes Field. Coyne grew up just a few blocks away. In 1935, he was in the stands when Ruth hit the final three home runs of his career.
He has ushered about 6,000 games, pausing for four years to serve in World War II, where he was deployed to Italy, France and Germany. For many years afterward Coyne worked as a machinist, and ushered on the side, before retiring from that job in 1980.
One of Coyne’s favorite moments at the ballpark was in 1960, he said, when he watched Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 that won the Pirates their first World Series in 35 years, beating the Yankees.
“That was a wild day,” Coyne said.
Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pirates said "The Pirates moved to Three Rivers Stadium and stayed through 2000 before arriving at PNC Park in 2001. Coyne worked at each one, and in the case of Three Rivers, had to take three buses to get there via public transportation. I’m still holding out hope that he’s going to decide to come back."