At 90, Corrado has seen plenty
Indians press box attendant shares some favorite memories
It's Sept. 29, 1954. The Polo Grounds in New York. It's Game 1 of the World Series between the Indians and the New York Giants. The score is tied, 2-2, in the top of the eighth inning, but the Indians are threatening. There are runners on first and second, no outs. Vic Wertz is at the plate against Giants reliever Don Liddle.Wertz crushes the ball to right-center field; it would have landed 460 feet from home plate. But, of course, we all know that Willie Mays caught it with his back to the infield. It was known as "The Catch." And Joe Corrado was there. Corrado is 90 years old and a press box attendant in Jacobs Field. On game days, you can find him sitting in the Jacobs Field press box, wearing an Indians hat adorned with Employee of the Month pins. "I've seen Willie Mays when he caught that ball from Vic Wertz," Corrado says. "Right-center field. It was a beautifully hit ball. I don't know how Willie Mays got that ball. We lost four straight to 'em in '54." Corrado, who has a son, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, has spent a staggering amount of time with the Indians. This year is his 57th with the Tribe; he's been working for the organization since 1949. "I was an usher [in 1949]," Corrado says. "In those days, if we had too many ushers, and it was going to rain or something, they'd ask you if you wanted to volunteer to pull the tarp. They'd give you a dollar extra." Corrado and his fellow ushers were paid two dollars a game in 1949. Corrado started as a part-time usher before retiring from an industrial job; he was middle-aged then, but there was so much history left in front of him. "I worked in the steel mills," Corrado says. "I worked for U.S. Steel. And I retired at the age of 51. I had 30 years and I got out. It seemed an appropriate transition, going from one of America's great industries to America's pastime. Corrado had the misfortune to come on board just one year after the Indians won their last World Series championship; he worked his nights away at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the "Mistake By The Lake." Some nights, Joe and his fellow ushers seemed to be the only ones at the park. "Yes, I worked at the old stadium," Corrado says. "On Opening Days, we'd have a sellout: 78,000. The next day, we'd be seating the pigeons." Corrado was promoted from usher to press box attendant in 1981. He can regale you with stories about his experience for hours; some of those stories are touching, some are just funny. "At the old stadium, we had a ramp that went up to the press box," he says. "I can tell you so many stories. There was one fellow out there one night, going back-and-forth with a trench coat on, looking at me. And I watched him." The man would later approach Corrado with curious request.
: : : This Edition: June 28, 2006 : : :
Andrew Bare is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.