Seasoned Vet

The Cleveland Indians have played more than 4,500 home games since Joe Corrado started working for the Tribe as a ballpark usher in 1949, the year after the team won its last World Series title. Now 92 years old and a Jacobs Field press-box attendant, we reminisced with Corrado about Rocky Colavito, Len Barker and the ups and downs of being an Indians fan.

How different is it working for the Indians today than in 1949?
It has improved in a lot of ways. Since we’ve had the new stadium, we are employing more people. You’ve got a stadium half as large as the old one, and you’re getting more service.

Do you have any good Rocky Colavito stories?
[The fans] loved Rocky. They used to holler, “Don’t knock the Rock.” We had an exhibition game for the sandlots every year. Rocky was called in to pitch exhibition. This guy should have been a pitcher. He could throw a ball from right field to home plate without a hop.

What was it like to witness Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981?
I was working right behind home plate. They’ll tell you there were 8,000 people there. They must be counting the pigeons. I think there were only 1,500 that day. It was a dreary day. … It was a beautiful game.

It has to be an emotional roller coaster working for a ball club.
I’ve loved sports since I was a kid. When I started working the games, I used to go home feeling so bad that the Indians lost. Finally, one day, I said, “I better wake up.” You like to win, but you have to learn to lose.

You’ve continued working for the Indians, even after retiring from your job at the steel mill. Have any retirement advice?
When you retire, find a hobby. Keep your mind going.

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