Freddy “Sez” Schuman, the Yankee Stadium mainstay known for his colorful signs and shamrock-emblazoned frying pan, died yesterday at age 85. Perhaps there are Yankees fans who never got to bang away with a spoon on that frying pan — we distinctly remember doing so for the first time on a trip to the Stadium with our CYO baseball team back in the nineties — or thumb through his charming newsletter. But the ping ping ping that followed him around the Stadium, first slowly around the upper deck, and then down to the lower levels, was familiar to all — one of those distinctive Yankee Stadium sounds, right alongside Bob Sheppard’s voice, the first-inning roll call, or the opening notes of “Enter Sandman.”
Freddy’s fandom sometimes extended to the city’s college teams — he frequently attended games at our alma mater, Fordham, which gave him an honorary letter back in 2006. But it was his cheering at Yankee Stadium, where he’d been bringing his signs since 1988, that made him something of a celebrity. (He appears in this new Nike commercial at the 53-second mark, in this House of Pain music video at the 3:33 mark, as well as in a commercial for MasterCard.)
In 2008, No Mas made a short documentary about Freddy. “I want to get the fans into the action,” he said at the beginning of the video. “I don’t look for the glory for myself.” That video, which follows him as he prepares for the final Opening Day at the old Yankee Stadium, appears below. May he rest in peace.Freddy ‘Sez,’ 1925–2010
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