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The Luckiest Kid

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Uploaded on Jan 15, 2010

My name is Roy "Red" McKercher. I used to be Red, back in the day. In 1957 I was the visitor bat boy for the San Francisco Seals baseball team. They were a Pacific Coast League team that had gone out of business in '58 because the New York Giants had moved to San Francisco in '58 and I wanted one of those positions. So I arrived at Seals Stadium on April 14, 1958 about five-thirty in the morning. Well, right behind me was Mike Murphy. Murphy is still the equipment manager for the Giants and has been with the organization for the last fifty years. He also wanted the position. About seven-thirty, the equipment manager Mr. Eddie Logan, who came with the team from New York, came in and asked us what the heck we were doing sitting in front of his clubhouse. We pointed out we were batboys the year before and wanted one of the batboy positions. He asked us to come in the clubhouse and help him unpack the duffel bags that had arrived from Phoenix the night before. As we were unpacking the bags, he called us over and said he had to decide which one of us would be the first batboy. So he took a coin and said to me, "Call it in the air, heads or tails." I called "heads" and that's how I won the job and Murph was the second batboy. From there we would take care of all the equipment, all the bats, the catcher's gear, put it on the field for batting practice before every game. On opening day, April 15, 1958, we were dressed on the field and there was all kinds of dignitaries on the field and three television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Those were the only three stations that were around in those days. Well, I was interviewed for the Today show back in New York and I was very nervous to tell my story because there wasn't much to tell in those days. After the fifty-nineth season, the fifty-eight season, in '59 I had a chance to go back to New York and be on What's My Line, a television show which was shown nationwide on Sunday evenings with John Daly the moderator, Robert Q. Lewis, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, and Dorothy Kilgallen. Well they guessed my story, that I was a batboy, but the had a good laugh because Dorothy Kilgallen had been in San Francisco the week before. Arlene Francis accused her of being with me, which wasn't true, but everybody laughed very hard. Then I came back and the owner Mr. Horace Stoneham, invited me to take an exhibition trip to Portland for one game. When we arrived I went with the equipment manager to help him unload the equipment. He told me to go to a bunch of cars, that there was somebody waiting for me. Well, I arrived and there was a car with my name on it. It said, "Star of What's My Line, Roy "Red" McKercher." Well, the ballplayers were all over me, 'cause a batboy having his own car was unheard of. Willie Mays, the star of the team, had to ride with another player. After that we came back to San Francisco that evening and Ed Logan told me to go ahead and get a note from my parents, that they wanted to take me on their next road trip, which was twenty-one days through the east coast and that was the trip of a lifetime. I was walking on a cloud. We left San Francisco in late July and didn't return until the middle of August. There, when we were back in Philadelphia, I was asked to be on American Bandstand, a popular teenage show that had singers and dancers come in and perform for kids that danced during the course of the show. Why they wanted me? I don't know because I couldn't sing and I couldn't dance, but Dick Clark interview me and after that he asked me to start a dance. Now that was harder to do than being on What's My Line? because I can't dance. Anyhow, when we got back to San Francisco, we stopped in L. A. on the way back and there was ninety thousand fans for the Dodger-Giant game. That was a very scary scene, to see that stadium filled with fans yelling for the Dodgers. When we got home, I was home for awhile and in '61 I got the "Batboy of the Year" award again and worked the All-Star Game, which I have a bat with my name on it from that game. I met a lot of great ball players from those days, Hall of Fame players like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Stan Musial, Warren Spann, Ritchie Allen, and I also got a chance to meet then Vice-President Richard Nixon. I had a lot of great experiences, was very fortunate to have the opportunity to be the batboy for the Giants, the first ever, when they came to San Francisco. I could talk for a lot longer time, but unfortunately I'm only limited to five minutes, which I'm sure I probably ran over, so thank you for your time. I hope you enjoyed my story.

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