Susan Ingersoll Papaneri is not a household name among Phillies fans, but she is a household name in our family. Susan’s official title is Director of Baseball Administration although when we first met her it was in a slightly different context. You can get a glimpse of Susan during this YouTube clip as one of the participants in a Baseball 101 Clinic for Women, this one from 2009, which has now become a bi-annual event at CBP that is always a sellout.
This is our 20th consecutive year coming to the Clearwater, Florida area for Spring Training. Since Robin Roberts threw the first pitch in 1955, Jack Russell Stadium became the March home of the Phillies and their spring exhibition games. The stadium, by the way, was host to the first American concert by The Rolling Stones in 1965, which was halted by the police after four songs when fans ran onto the field and pelted them with rolls of toilet paper. Now shouldn’t that go down in history ahead of Phillies fans throwing batteries at J.D. Drew, or Eagles fans pelting Santa Claus with snowballs? How come I had to come across that by accident in an old USA Today story?
We started out in 1993 with a few days, gradually increasing the time, but sometime in the late 1990s, when the Phillies were playing in Jack Russell Stadium, our older son Elliot (a teenager at the time) decided that he wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look in the Phillies clubhouse.
Elliot took a look at the program on sale that day at Jack Russell, and noted that Susan Ingersoll was a muckety-muck in the Phils administrative office. We had a nice Photo of third baseman Scott Rolen that Elliot wanted to get signed. So as he meandered through the clubhouse, which had much easier entry than one could gain in Bright House today, he name-dropped Susan to anyone who asked him what he was doing there. Until someone from Security decided that it was time for him to introduce Elliot to Susan who, of course, had no idea who he was or what he was doing there. They took down his name and address, took the photo of Scott Rolen from him, and had Security escort him back to where we were sitting. Much to our surprise, a week later, the signed photo of Scott Rolen arrived at our house.
We reminded Susan of that story as she was introduced to us this afternoon by our spring training friends, the Stimmels, who worked closely with her in the construction of Bright House Network Fields. She smiled and though she didn’t recollect the incident, agreed that it was an early indication of Elliot’s resourcefulness that would serve him well in West Point, in the military, and beyond.