04/24/09 12:14 AM ET
Red Sox to use 100-year-old batboy
Avid fan had same position with Boston Braves
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Giddon will be presented with a special gift Saturday on the eve of his 100th birthday: the opportunity to serve as batboy for the Red Sox during their weekend series against the Yankees.
"I'm going to do whatever they tell me to do, like any good batboy," Giddon told the New York Times during an interview in his home in Bloomfield, Conn., a suburb of Hartford. "I'm hoping that after [Red Sox leadoff hitter] Jacoby Ellsbury gets the first hit I can go out and grab his bat, but I don't think they're going to allow me to do that."
Liability issues will limit Giddon's batboy activities to batting practice and not during the game, reports said. But the Red Sox are still very much looking forward to having Giddon hit the field with the Red Sox as they prepare to face the rival Yankees.
"Baseball itself is a celebration of generations, and a celebration of bringing them together," Susan Goodenow, the team's vice president for public affairs, told the Times. "The ability to bring someone here who has such a history in the game, such a unique experience, it's just great."
Giddon, reports on nbcconnecticut.com and in the Times said, served as batboy for the Braves in 1922 and '23. His time included a passing meeting with Ruth that, since Ruth played for the Yankees during that time, the Times attributed to taking place during Ruth's suspension for barnstorming the previous year. National League greats like Rogers Hornsby and Grover Cleveland Alexander came through the clubhouses Giddon worked.
Giddon, who went on to attend Harvard Law School and work for decades as a successful lawyer, got his batboy job simply by walking to Braves Field early for games, he said.
"I got to know the workmen at the clubhouse," he told the Times. "I'd run errands for the players -- I got a job picking up tonic bottles and putting them in the case. One day they asked me if I wanted to be a batboy, so I said sure."
It sounds as though that was his reaction when the Red Sox asked him if he'd like to reprise his role as batboy. An avid fan -- "Oh, the Red Sox! That's the best vitamin for him!" his wife of 61 years Harriett said -- Giddon keeps up with the Red Sox on television. His daughter Pam made a Red Sox jersey with "100" and "Big Pappy" on the back for Saturday.
"I'm exhilarated," Giddon told the Times. "I'll be more exhilarated if they give me an autographed ball of the team -- including the bat boy. Maybe he'll live to be 100, too."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.