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Reliving the Dream

Reliving the DreamTufts graduate Arthur Giddon relives his bat boy days with the Boston Red Sox in celebration of his 100th birthday.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.14.09] For those who are blessed to reach their 100th birthday, thoughts of coming out of retirement may seem like crazy talk. On Apr. 25, however, that is exactly what Arthur Giddon did.

Just one day shy of his 100th birthday, the 1932 Tufts graduate made his way to the Boston Red Sox dugout at Fenway Park where he got to be 13 again, reliving his experience as a bat boy for the then Boston Braves.

"This is the greatest day since I was married, but don't publish that - my wife might not like it," Giddon joked with Major League Baseball reporters.

Managing this opportunity was something that had been in the works since 2005, according to the Hartford Courant. Having been a Red Sox fan since the Braves moved to Milwaukee, Giddon attended the 2005 Opening Day with his daughter Pamela to witness the World Series ring ceremony. Bearing a sign that read "Boston Braves Bat Boy," Giddon was given special treatment by Boston police, who led him down behind the Yankee bullpen for an up-close view.

This event got Giddon thinking about his bat boy days and soon a plan was in motion. According to the Courant, the CEO of his retirement community started a chain of phone calls that made it all the way to the Red Sox, and the date was set.

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David Ortiz and Arthur Giddon

For the day of the game, Giddon wore a Red Sox jersey with the number 100 and the words "Big Pappy" on the back, a play on the nickname of Red Sox first baseman, David Ortiz, also known as "Big Papi."

After graduating from Tufts in 1932 with a B.S. in economics, Giddon went to Harvard Law School before serving as a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II. According to the Courant, he later served as a public defender of the Hartford Judicial District for 19 years before retiring.

Growing up in Brookline, Mass., Giddon was a regular at Braves Field, getting to know the chief usher, picking up bottles and running errands.

"One day they needed a batboy," he told the Courant, remembering back to the day in 1922. "Walter Holke was my favorite. He had a young son and we'd play. Holke taught me how to make kites and I used to make them for my own grandchildren."

Of today's players, Giddon told the Courant that he was a fan of Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis, two players he say he can follow even with his degenerating eyesight.

"Big Papi's so big and claps his hands at the plate," he said. "And Youk is always jumping up and down."

According to The New York Times, Red Sox players were equally excited to have Giddon in attendance.

"The clubhouse guys always have good stories," Youkilis told The New York Times. "A lot of the time you get the best stuff from the bat boys."

In the days leading up to the game, Giddon had high hopes for what the experience would entail.

"I'm going to do whatever they tell me to do, like any good bat boy," Giddon told The New York Times. "I'm exhilarated. I'll be more exhilarated if they give me an autographed ball of the team - including the bat boy. Maybe he'll live to be 100, too."

Photo provided by Brita Meng Outzen.

 

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