PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pirates usher Phil Coyne has probably seen more Bucco history, live at the ball park, than anyone else on earth.
Wednesday evening at PNC Park, the night before his 99th birthday, he was honored with a jersey numbered “99.”
His ushering career began when he was 18-years-old.
“He is a great representative,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “Everybody who comes here has to say hello to Phil. He has to say hello to them. ‘Welcome to PNC Park.’ He’s done it for over 80 years.”
81 to be exact. Everyone knows Phil.
“It’s the people that keep bringing me back,” the usher says. “The people in my section. I’ve been so close to everybody over the years. I was born and raised about three blocks away from Forbes Field.”
He saw Bill Mazeroski’s famous home run in the 1960 World Series. And in 1935, he says, “I saw Babe Ruth hit his three home runs.”
They were all in one game, at Forbes Field. He was closing out his career with the Boston Braves. Though the usher never married, his nieces are very proud of Uncle Phil.
“He’s the kindest person in the world,” says great-niece Simone Coyne. “And for him to be honored here is incredible, at 99 years old. We’re already planning to get 100.”
It’s a good bet. Phil Coyne always comes back for more.
“Opening day, everybody would give me hugs and kisses when I come back, so I don’t want to disappoint them.”