COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A dream 72 years in the making came true for one local Clippers fan Sunday at Huntington Park.
At 85 years old, Jim Reiser got to assist the Clippers during their afternoon game against Lehigh Valley, becoming the oldest batboy ever to take the field for Columbus.
“I can’t believe it, I’m dreaming, I’m in a dream,” Reiser said.
The dream became a reality for Reiser as he arrived at Huntington Park and received his own personalized Clippers jersey for his role as batboy.
“I think it’s amazing,” Reiser said. “It’s incredible. I figured I would never have the opportunity, not in this time.”
That’s because when Jim was just 13, he wrote a letter to the St. Louis Cardinals requesting to be the batboy for the Columbus Redbirds, but he didn’t get the job.
“Well, at that time, I thought, ‘Well, that’s politics, you have to know somebody,'” he said.
But 72 years after he wrote the letter, the Clippers welcomed Jim as their honorary batboy Sunday. Jim and his wife Ann have eight children and 24 grandchildren, most of them present by the field as Jim walked alongside Columbus Manager Tony Mansolino to give the batting line-up cards to the umpires.
“I’m thinking he deserved this,” said Reiser’s wife Ann Golden-Reiser. “It was really, I mean the fact that his nieces and nephews came from far away and all of his kids came and his sisters and his brothers came, I mean what more could you ask for.”
“It was a dream come true for all of us,” said their daughter Sarah Budreau. “He was born and raised around major league baseball, and he knows so much knowledge about it. He’s had major league baseball players teach him how to pitch.”
As Reiser fulfilled his lifelong dream as a batboy, he wanted to take matters one step further and play the sport he loves once again.
“And I told our manager, ‘I’m ready to pitch,’ and he said, ‘Maybe 70 years ago,'” he said with a laugh.