Phil Coyne & Kevin Stiffler sharing a picture together at PNC Park, 2017
The legendary Phil Coyne! What a gem of a guy!
Phil Coyne was first hired as an Usher by the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning in 1935 when the team called venerable Forbes Field home.
He remained in their employ through the life of that Park, through the rise and fall of Three Rivers Stadium and then seamlessly on to PNC Park.
Phil rarely missed a game and had become a part of my Pirates pre-game experience since I was a small boy.
My Father and Phil were only a few weeks apart in age with lives that began in the Spring of 1918. Smack dab in the middle of the worldwide Spanish Flu epidemic the world welcomed two of my favorite people.
My Dad met Phil in the late 40's at Forbes Field during an extended Rain Delay. they struck up a conversation and from that casual chat sprung a fifty-year friendship.
Every time we went to a game, My Dad and I would "check in" with Phil.
And if we were lucky? It would rain.
Not a "Rain Out" kinda rain. Just a nice, steady shower that passes thru slowly: Enough for the tarp to be rolled out but not with great urgency.
A good 45-minute delay would provide a window for those two to share amazing baseball stories as a mesmerized kid listened in.
What I'd give for one more gray day at the old ballpark.