The Pittsburgh Pirates won their first playoff game in 21 years on Tuesday night, and no one was more excited than Phil Coyne.
When the 95-year-old usher, who’s been showing baseball fans to their seats for more than 77 years, was asked by TBS how he felt about the possibility of seeing a winning season for his team, he stole the show (and hearts of viewers) with his excited reply: “We’re just hoping and hoping.”
The spritely senior, who has seen baseball greats including Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson in action, began ushering as a teen in the mid-1930s, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
His pay for the day: 75 cents.
But it wasn’t about the money.
Coyne, who served in Italy during World War II and retired from his job as a machinist in 1980, remembers a time when fans would lug ice-filled garbage cans into the stadium and sit them at the end of the aisle, filled with beer.
Never married, he lives with his younger brother Billy, and credits his longevity to “two Oreos and a glass of milk before bed.”
In another interview a few years ago, Coyne admitted that there’s only one thing he would have done differently when he started out in 1936: “It’s not like I regret it really, but I’d be a millionaire now if I’d just picked up some scorecards or some balls from that era and kept them,” he said. “You could always get a ball. You’d get one with Honus Wagner’s autograph on it one day, and the next it’d be all scuffed up because you played with it down the Oval.”