Freddy Schuman, long-time stadium stalwart, passes away

Yanks to stop homophobic crowd chants
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Since 1988, Freddy Schuman, better known as Freddy Sez to Yankee fans, has traipsed around Yankee Stadium with his homemade signs urging on the Yanks to win. The familiar ping of a spoon hitting his pan fills the air, and as it grows louder, fans know that their chance to bang the pan is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, though, Freddy has made his last sign. The Daily News is reporting that Freddy has passed away today. Chuck Frantz, Schuman’s long-time friend, has conveyed the bad news to the paper and confirmed that Schuman suffered a heart attackthis afternoon.

Through thick and thin, Freddy came to the Yankee games at the old stadium in the Bronx. He would shuffle around the ballpark, and fans would stop to take pictures with Freddy. His pan and spoon are now in Cooperstown. “This is what keeps me going,” he said to Times reporter Manny Fernandez back in 2006. “This is why I’m doing it. Probably if I stopped, I’d probably be buried already.”

The 2006 piece is chock full of stories about Freddy. The Upper West Sider lost his eye in a stickball accident at age 9 and his teeth because he owned a candy store. The constant banging he endured as the holder of the pan left him hard of hearing, but he did it for love of the game. The Yanks even flew him out to Arizona for Game 7 of the 2001 World Series to serve as the team’s good luck charm. “If Freddy isn’t there with his pan,” Rudy Giuiliani once said, “it doesn’t feel right. It feels like there’s something missing.”

When the new stadium opened, Freddy at first had a tough time getting in, but the Yankees eventually found tickets for him. He hadn’t been as loud a presence at the new stadium, and his health, never strong in the first place, seemed to be failing him lately. He was 85 at the time of the his death.

After the jump, watch a short documentary on Freddy Sez from No Mas.

Yanks to stop homophobic crowd chants
Open Thread: Back Home
  • Captain Jack

    Respect is due to my main man. Been a sad year: Houk, The Boss, The Voice, and now Freddy.

  • Anthony Murillo

    Terrible news. A few years ago (I want to say 2007), Freddy was walking around the section I was seated at and I got to bang his pan. Probably one of my favorite memories of going to the old Yankee Stadium.

    RIP Freddy

    • TooTall55

      My husband surprised me with Yankee tickets to the new stadium last year. I got to see Monument Park, the Museum, and the Yankees won. I told him the day would have been perfect if I had met Freddy Sez. As if on cue, Freddy strolled out of the Hard Rock. I shook his hand and told him now my day was perfect. While waiting for the subway, he appeared again. I sat next to him on the ride back, and he told me his life story. He was quite a character and I enjoyed talking to him. I always listened for the sound of people banging on his pan while watching the games on TV and I will miss that. RIP buddy.

  • CBean

    Rest in peace, Freddy.

  • yankthemike

    sorrowful news for everybody. kinda choked me up. I bet kids who grew up bashing that pan are really sad today

  • Adam

    Very sad…what great memories of him at the Stadium and bashing his pan. Once I saw him at a movie theater on the Upper West Side and it just didn’t look right. He seemed like he should have always been at the Stadium, morning, afternoon and night.

  • mbonzo

    Saw him at every game I went to this year. Very sad, but you could tell he didn’t have the same energy he usually had. Hopefully we get a pan in the Yankees hall of fame.

  • Jonah Falcon

    I hope Yogi and Whitey are eating right and crossing only at the light.

  • JGS

    Rest in peace, Freddy

  • UWS

    Sad news. They’re assembling quite a cast of baseball characters up in the big ballpark in the sky, aren’t they?

  • Uncle Mike

    Freddy was the real thing. People like him are the reason we’ve never needed a Phanatic or a Chicken. There’s not many people left who saw Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play, and now there’s one less. My first game at the new Stadium was the 4th one, a Sunday afternoon, and this was after a rough start that included 2 games where Nick Swisher had to pitch. Freddy was outside Game 6, and someone said, “Freddy, you can’t retire!” And I said, “Retire? At this rate, we may need him to pitch!” Fortunately, he laughed. Great guy. And we’re running out of places on the uniform to put memorials. We may have to have the players write “SEZ” in white-out on the backs of their caps.

    • Accent Shallow

      People like him are the reason we’ve never needed a Phanatic or a Chicken.

      Who says Steinbrenner only had good ideas? Check this out.

      • Warrior86

        Heh, Dandy… we hardly knew ye.

        Still, not as bad as Mr. Met. though.

  • Shaun

    Another reason to bring back #28, do it for the men whose lives have shaped the legacy of the pinstripes.

    I’m sure Freddy is sitting in a skybox holding a sign next to the Boss, who is cussing at being beat by the Rangers, and The Voice is reading the lineup for tommorrow.

  • tommydee2000

    Does Freddy rate a patch?

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

    The last regular season game I was at, Freddy Sex was in the same subway car as me and my father.

    • Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Mrs. OBP Jesus Maquinito

      Freddy Sez.

      Oh my god I feel awful

    • pat

      I chuckled and I feel pretty bad about it.

  • Jerome S.

    I done seen this guy. I seen him with me own eyes!
    I guess everyone did at one point or another. I was only 9 and a little creeped out, but he was pretty badass.

  • Jerome S.

    So… does he get buried with the pot, or who gets that?
    It’s a piece of history!

    • Sayid J.

      They said pot is going to Cooperstown

  • Accent Shallow

    RIP Freddy.

  • Justin

    I got to talk to him on the subway coming back from game one of the 2000 WS. That was a lot of fun.

    Sleep well.

  • Melissa

    RIP Freddy. Yankee baseball will not be the same without you.

  • Slappy White

    Sad News…About 2003 I saw Freddy before he got into the Stadium and asked to get a picture. He said sure but went and stood right up against my wife. I didnt have the balls to tell him I meant with me so I snapped the shot….Ole Freddy was pretty smart

  • Ivan

    RIP Freddy man…

  • Murakami

    Freddy was at the clincher against the Twins last Saturday.

    He had that old world joy you don’t see much any more. I’m sure he’ll be at the Stadium tomorrow night, just to check in. When you cross over, you apparently “hang around” for a little while before you blaze on to other vibrational planes.

    You earned your wings, Freddy. We’ll miss you.

  • George Malatesta

    Rest In Peace Freddy. I was glad to have met you. Hopefully he’s greated at the pearly gates by St. Peter & Phil Rizzuto. You’ll never be forgotten.

  • Matt DiBari
  • Murakami

    Thanks for posting that, Matt. He looks quite robust there, actually. I’m guessing he went out on his own terms. He had better things to do. God bless.

  • Avi

    Sorry to hear. I hit that spoon on the pan many times.
    We’ll miss you Freddy.

  • rek4gehrig

    Awwwwwwwwwwwww…that makes me very sad. I loved Freddy

  • Peter A Lopez

    Can’t remember going to a game without hearing The Pan. Something you looked forward to, hearing The Pan across the stadium, eventually close enough so that you were able to read the days Freddy Sez.

    The stadium experience won’t be the same.

    tink tink tink.

  • Murakami

    No, won’t be the same.

    Someone on another site suggested the BCs include Freddy in roll call.

    I think that would be apt.

  • Ethan

    A sad day for the Bronx. Although I loved seeing Freddy at The Stadium, his appearances at Fordham football and basketball games were what I remember most.

  • Big Daddy


  • Frigidevil

    Rest in peace Freddy, the best fan I’ve ever known. I’ll never forget how happy banging that pan made my younger sisters every time he came around to our section. He will truly be missed.

  • Chris Duffy

    I remember attending the game after we lost to the Indians 22-0 in 2004 and Freddy was walking around with a sign that said “Let’s score 23!” I loved seeing Freddy at the games I went to and loved hearing that pan. He’ll be truly missed.

    quick sidenote: Javy took the loss in that 22-0 game and we beat C.C. (thanks to El Duque) the next day 5-3.

  • P. Allen

    I saw him at CitiField against the Yanks this year and at the Stadium just in September. Very sad to hear. RIP Freddyy

  • Mister D

    There needs to be something done for him, some small honorific placed in the stadium for him to be remembered.

  • Nice

    Freddy was in the Village for the Halloween parade back in 2005. I thought, damn, I hope I have that much energy when I hit 80s.

    A couple of years ago, he even appeared in a national commerical for Mastercard.

    Love you, Freddy.

  • Mike Nitabach

    Very sad news. So many times at Yankee Stadium my wife and I asking each other, “Do you hear Freddy’s pan today?”, and answering, “Yes! There it is!”


    sad ,very sad news… Freddy was a very nice man.
    Freddy may you rest in peace and keep watching down on our boys in the big Ballpark in the South Bronx !!!

  • YankeeFan4Ever

    Terrible news. We lost Bob Shepherd, George Steinbrenner and Freddy in one year. So sad.

  • Joe in Upstate NY

    Last I saw Freddie was in July – and the line of kids waiting to bang his plate and get their picture taken with him was long.
    RIP Freddie – bet you have your eye back and your playing stick ball again on those streets of gold. Lots of candy to eat, too!

  • Carrie

    RIP Freddy…I write this with a heavy heart…You will be missed!Every game we go to, we always look for Freddy.He will always be apart of Yankee history.

  • Ari

    The team should hand out pans and spoons tonight.

  • pcmendy

    How sad. Freddy will be missed. Generations of Yankee fans have banged his frying pan. The Yankees should honor Freddy with a plaque in Monument Park. support the cause by going to the “Freddy deserves a plaque in Monument Park” page on Facebook and clicking the “Like” button.

  • http://ownBRONX,canwinitforallofus! christine says;

    Thank You Freddy “SEZ”! He will surely be missed. I send my best to his family. The Yankees will hopefully do something in honor of Freddy. Now it’s the Yankees job to take the reighns! Go Yankees!!!!!

  • http://ownBRONX,canwinitforallofus! christine says;

    I met Freddy once with my father George who passed away this year from ALS. For me and my father it was a pleasure to meet such a true presence of “YANKEE PRIDE”!!!!!

  • dave

    rest in peace.

  • DCBX

    RIP Freddy Sez, you will be missed.

    I can see it now, he’s probably writing up tonight’s sign for the crowd in the Upper Deck: