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.