Groke: SABR member Herb Shankman, acccidental big-league pitcher, ushers in Rockies’ season

From Nick Groke at the Denver Post on April 9, 2015, on SABR member Herb Shankman:

They told him to see Joe Taylor about a uniform. Taylor was the equipment manager at Braves Field in Boston. But the only uniform available in the clubhouse belonged to Walker Cooper, a squatty, 215-pound catcher.

When it draped over Herb Shankman, it looked like a blanket. He said the crotch of his pants dragged in the dirt and the short sleeves reached his wrists.

“I was embarrassed to go on the field,” recalled Shankman, then a scraggly 135-pound teenager who had tagged along on that summer day in 1950 to watch his best friend at an amateur tryout.

On Friday afternoon, Shankman will be among the more than 50,000 filling Coors Field as the Rockies play their home opener against the Chicago Cubs. Shankman, in his 15th year as a Coors Field usher, rarely misses a game.

And if any young Rockies fans daydream of being down on the field, they can think of Herb Shankman. He once walked right onto the field and into a life of baseball.

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Originally published: April 13, 2015. Last Updated: April 13, 2015.