We’ve been here before. But, this one’s a bit different.
Steve Susdorf is a professional hitter.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell
“It can happen to you
It can happen to me
It can happen to everyone eventually
As you happen to say
It can happen today
As it happens
It happens in every way”
Part of our “mission” around here is to help folks get to know the players better. “It’s more fun when you know who you’re cheering for” is part of my mantra. But, in the world of Minor League sports, it means a lot of saying “hello” and a lot of saying “good-bye.” And this one is a bit different.
In the short history of the IronPigs, since 2008, we’ve said good-byes to our favorite players before. We said good-bye to Andy Tracy and Josh Fields at the end of seasons–when we knew change was coming and that rosters would inevitably turn over. We said good-bye to Richie Thompson in the middle of the season, but with the consolation that he was getting the call to the Majors and realizing a goal that he’d been working toward for years. We said good-bye to Jermaine Mitchell in the middle of the season, but we hadn’t known him for very long.
Now, we say good-bye to Steve Susdorf. He’s been a member of the IronPigs family for the past three years, and one of the most consistent performers on the field. He got the opportunity to play for the Phillies for a few games last season. He has a .299 batting average, lifetime, in the Minor Leagues. He had the best average of any IronPig this season, with over 150 at-bats. And, ….
Well, there are baseball reasons. And we’ll miss his production on the field and his contribution to the team. And we understand that sometimes this is about the Phillies and not about the IronPigs. But this one is different because of the guy, too. I think: Steve has an appreciation for people that goes far beyond baseball. Whether you’re a billion-dollar first baseman on rehab, or a schmuck who goes to too many IronPigs games, or a regular fan, or a Pastor or a parishioner, or a refugee–it doesn’t matter…. Steve has time for you.
A recent story: Cheryl and I were recording some video pieces recently, before a home game. I had wandered across the dugout to say hello to IronPigs radio producer Mark Perlman-Price. As we concluded, and I stepped away, Steve appeared and said hello before I had an opportunity to say anything. He easily could have waited for me to say something or for me to approach him. He could have darted by and gone about his work. After all, I was in his workplace, and it wasn’t an appropriate time for an interview or socializing. But, he had time….
He had time, too, at a recent Saturday night Tiki/Trough party, to stop and say hello to DiPro, and Junior and myself. He was with his wife Kelsey, and there were other players and wives and girlfriends around, but he seemed just as comfortable saying hello to us and spending a moment.
If you like, go back through our archives and re-watch the interviews and the “Day of DiPro” and all of that. Or, better yet, click on this link to read more about Steve’s work in Haiti in the offseason:
Here are some pictures from our archives. We wish Steve well, of course, and we know he can hit. He could land with an MLB team or an Independent team–but we know he’ll hit. We also know he’ll touch lives wherever he lands on life’s journey. His faith will guide him and everything will be OK. I think Steve’s mission on this planet goes far beyond baseball, and the Horn and Bell Blog wishes him well and supports him in his life’s work, wherever that road may lead, baseball and beyond. And if I’m not mistaken, there’s another auction scheduled for August 2, to benefit the Church in Haiti. I hope that the IronPigs will continue with the auction as planned. I know we’ll be happy to support it.
photo: Cheryl Pursell
Steve Susdorf: “All he does is hit…”
(c) Cheryl Pursell
Photo: Cheryl Pursell