I see they call you the Patron Saint of Players. How did you get that name?
Our president, Jim Weyermann gave me that name. It’s probably because I watch closely over the players.
How long have you been with the San Jose Giants?
This year will be my forty- fourth year with the club.
What are your responsibilities with the team?
I manage all aspects of player relations. In addition to coordinating travel for the team and San Francisco/San Jose Giants Booster Club, I also plan Booster’s annual banquet, honoring San Jose and San Francisco Giants greats.
What was one of the funniest events that happened to you while working for the Giants?
Back in 1979, we were an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. I went to the San Jose airport to pick up a bunch of players assigned to our team. There were about four of five guys standing around with their luggage. I told them to hop into the car, “I’m going to take you to the hotel.”
As we were driving to the hotel, they conversed about Seattle and they were looking forward to have a good time here. I said, “I noticed you all brought your golf clubs, you’re going to have a good time with the club and it’s going to be a fun season.” One of them asked me who did I think they were? I said, aren’t you the San Jose Missions baseball team? They go, no, we’re the Washington State golf team.
We all laughed as I realized I picked up the wrong guys. I brought them back to the airport and retrieved the right bunch of boys.
Any of your players make the Major Leagues?
George Brett played here in the early seventies. He went to the Kansas City Royals and is now in the Hall of Fame. We are fortunate here in San Jose. Over one hundred thirty guys have gone on to the Majors since 1988 when we became associated with the San Francisco Giants. We have a young player named Buster Posey who played some with the team last year. He is one of those players you want to do well; he is a gentleman, a real nice guy.
Are you married, have children?
No. How can I leave all this? I get twenty-five new men every year.
You have been with the team over forty years, how does it feel to have local fame?
It’s very flattering and I am very fortunate. I won the first Rawlings Woman of the Year award back in 1982. I was given the award in Hawaii at the Winter Baseball Meeting. Last year, I won the first Woman of the Year in Santa Clara County.
the Kathy Wolfe award. She worked over twenty years at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA in the baseball department. I was very flattered to win that as well.
How did you get started in baseball?
My brother was the batboy for the San Jose Bees and my mother would bring him to the ballpark and I would go with them. I was about twelve years old. I started working in the office, filing and helping the lady secretary. When she retired, I took over her office job and started selling advertising. I loved my job so much, I never left.
Who influenced you the most in getting your career going?
Lou Gorman of the Boston Red Sox and John Schuerholzof the Atlanta Braves were both my mentors. At that time, we were affiliated with the Kansas City Royals. I am still in contact with both men. John was Lou’s assistant. Today,
Lou is Vice President of the Red Sox and John is the President of the Atlanta Braves. I was fortunate to have two great mentors.
How many different jobs have you had with the San Jose Giants?
I handle travel arrangements for the players and arrange for the players to live with host families. I started the host family program in 1982. All of our players, including the married couples live with local families. This is a unique situation and we were one of the first Minor League teams to start this arrangement. It is very expensive to live in the San Francisco Bay area, as you know and these guys don’t make a lot of money, this is the only way to go
Are you also in charge of making personal appearances in town?
Yes. We go to local schools and do reading projects. We also do charity events, autograph sessions, give baseball instructions to Little Leaguers. Whatever fits into their schedule with the manager’s approval, we’ll do.
Did you ever play any sports in high school, college?
No. I played golf but don’t have time for that now. Never got involved with competitive sports.
What is the most memorable game you ever saw?
I saw Nolan Ryan throw a no-hitter in Oakland. I was sitting in the first row
above the Texas Rangers dugout. That was a big thrill.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
When a player gets released. Sometimes due to an injury, or, they just don’t make it. You have to say goodbye. That’s tough. That’s sad.
What’s the best part?
The friendships that you make, many are lifetime friendships. I’ve had players stay at our house. A married couple stayed with us one winter with my parents and me.
What advise would you give to a young women thinking of a career in baseball?
Don’t be afraid to try anything. You’re always going to have to sell advertising and season tickets. Everyday is a learning experience. I have been here over forty years and I’m still learning. You shouldn’t feel something is below you to do anything. You may be asked to clean the stands if someone doesn’t show up.
Have you got any favorite baseball movies?
In 1988, our team went to see a preview of Bull Durham. That was a thrill sitting with the players watching that movie with Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandan and Tim Robbins.
Do you have a favorite baseball quote?
I love Yogi Berra, you know, “it’s never over till it’s over.” I never met him but I bought my dad a book of his quotes.
Did you attend college?
I graduated from San Jose State with a BA in radio and television and minored in Advertising.
Any experiences with the San Francisco Giants?
I went on the road with the Giants. I handle all the travel arrangements for the San Francisco Giants booster club. I arrange all their trips and I usually get to go. In addition to coordinating travel for the team and San Francisco/San Jose Giants Booster Club, I also plan the Booster’s annual banquet, honoring San Jose and San Francisco Giants greats.
Did you attend the World Series when the Giants played in 2002?
Yes, I worked in the press box with the title of Media Relations Specialist during the Series and also the All Star Game at AT&T Park in 2007. It was a fancy title, did a lot of running around but it was fun.
Can you tell me about your trip to Japan?
We had a working agreement with the Seibu Giants from Japan. I would pick the players up at the airport and help return them to Japan. I took a group of our booster club fans to Japan. We saw a game at Seibu Stadium, we sat in the owners box, had cocktails, and dinner. We toured all over Japan. It was an incredible experience.
Do you speak Japanese?
I speak a little. We had about six to eight players that would come over. The players did not speak English but our coach, Hank Wada, a great catcher when
he played in Japan spoke English. In our last two years of our agreement, our new coach, Sam Hirosi did not speak much English so we had a tutor so I would sit it and learned some Japanese.
Norm Coleman is an actor, writer and professional photographer living in Half Moon Bay, California. He has been writing for WSR since February this year.
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photos Janos Schmidt