He donned a blue shirt that told everyone he was "Head ballboy."

He sat in the dugout at Bob Hoffman Memorial Stadium waiting for the other ballboys to hand him the baseballs smacked outside of the park.

He was the one chosen to return balls to the team.

For 72-year-old John Ruby, it doesn't matter how or why he was promoted to head ballboy.

All that matters is that he was. He held that post for about a year and a half, and it's an honor he's still proud of today.

Ruby and his buddies -- Robert Zarfoss, Kent Herman, Robert Zeigler, just to name a few -- never missed a White Roses game. They chased foul balls in the parking lot together, until Ruby was picked for that regal post.

"They were losing money with all of those lost balls that were hit into the parking lot," Ruby remembers. "Looking back at those days, it's such a memory . . . a phenomenal experience."

Just don't ask who the baseball/football/basketball/clarinet-playing breakdancer's favorite team is.

(New York Yankees because he loved Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and the other greats.)

And don't ask him who his second favorite Major League Baseball team is. (Boston Red Sox)

But go ahead and ask Ruby who's No. 3 on his list. (Baltimore Orioles)

Baseball for many people conjures American pastime nostalgia. Here are more York baseball memories.

* * *

John Ruby, former head ball boy
John Ruby, former head ball boy (Daily Record/Sunday News - Laura Burkey )

"I remember the baseball teams of the 1950s. When the baseball games were not in session, the baseball players would come over into our neighborhood, hang out with the people, have big fun. Sometimes, they would give the kids a free ticket. It was all a lot of fun."

Jimmy Spells, 64, of York

" . . . This goes back to the early '50s, when the games were held out at the stadium near Bunny's Woods. I was only about 11 or 12 years old. We would try to hook into the baseball games. If we got a foul ball out in the parking lot, they would let you in if you turned over the ball to the ticket-taker. So, we hung out in the parking lot waiting for foul balls to come out. During the later innings, you could just walk in. The ticket-takers didn't really bother. We made friends with a few of the players. At the time, I think, the York White Roses were a farm club of the St. Louis Browns. And I remember also that there was a kid that sold the Baltimore News and the late evening Sun towards the end of the game. I finally figured out that most of the people that bought those papers probably wanted to check the race track results for wherever the horses were running . . . Baseball in York is one of my fond memories."

Tom Foster, 69, formerly of York

As a catcher in his youth, John Ruby (pictured right) fully admits that it’s not the safest position to play in baseball. The knob on his
As a catcher in his youth, John Ruby (pictured right) fully admits that it's not the safest position to play in baseball. The knob on his finger is just one war wound from a foul ball tip that he sports. Retrieving foul balls as a youngster with his buddies is one of John Ruby's best memories growing up. One that would top that? Becoming head ballboy for the York White Roses. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Jason Plotkin)

"My memory is of the York Pirates in 1969. I had the privilege of doing the public address announcing and operating the scoreboard for about half of the home games that season. My biggest memory of that is the scoreboard control panel was quite old and the wiring was quite brittle, and the wiring would often break. And certain light bulbs on the scoreboard would no longer work. So we would break the lid on the control panel and find the broken wire. Since we didn't have electrical tape, we would use Band-Aids from the first-aid kit that the team provided in the press box. We would tape the wires together with Band-Aids to make the scoreboard work again and finish the game that way. I also remember a series of games canceled . . . because of the race riots in York. And I remember getting paid $6 a game and free hot dogs and ice cream from the concession stand."

John Loeper, 62, of Franklin Township in Green County

"I do remember going to see the York White Roses as a child, although my participation or memories are more like copycatting what anybody else did as far as their cheers and jeers . . . It did get more interesting for me later on as a teenager when I sorta became an unofficial part-time sports reporter for the local newspapers through my uncle. When he wasn't available, I went to the ballpark. I was given an Eastern League pass. I was able to go pretty much to any game I wanted to. But when I was on duty, I sat up in the press box, checked the scorebook, called in the box scores to the local newspapers. You got a great bird's-eye view of pretty much everything going on at the stadium. I would also telegraph the results on the wires. Also, got to make a few announcements on the PA system."

Charles Howell of Dover Township

"My memory of professional baseball in York goes back to about 1940, when the York White Roses were a member of the old Interstate League. It was a class B league, and they were a farm team for the old Boston Braves, who were in the National League at that time. They played their games at the old Martin Perry field, at the corner of North Adams and Orange Street in West York. The same location is currently the site of the West York High School Baseball diamond."

Don Peterson, 82, of West Manchester Township

"I work for the Revolution. I'm a catering host. And my job entails letting people into the picnic area. And my story is last year, there was a gentleman who I did not see have a pass to get into the section nor was he wearing a wristband. So I politely asked him to leave. A few minutes later, I found out that it was Ken Singleton, who is an ex-Major League baseball player, announcer for the New York Yankees and also happens to be a father of one of the Revolution players."

Arthur Levine, 62, of Manchester Township


The Remember series is a monthly feature that challenges readers to remember poignant moments in personal, local and national history. Each month, we're asking readers to share their memories on different topics. From those who call, we'll select one to video, and post audio files of the other memories on the Web. We'll also publish several of the responses in the newspaper.


Catch up with the York Revolution this season:

Visit inyork.com/revolution to find Revs news, photos, videos, slide shows and archived stories. Don't miss the 360-degree presentation of Sovereign Bank Stadium to see the stadium from different vantage points.

Get the scoop from The Lineup Card sports blog at www.thelineupcard.com for news about the season and team.