Starting in the spring of 1968, John (14 at the time) and Dave (11 at the time) served as batboys for the York Pirates. They would routinely arrive at Bob Hoffman Stadium around 6:30 in the morning to clean the park before their father picked them up to go home for a quick shower in the early afternoon.
The boys would then return to the park around 4:30 p.m. to clean the clubhouse and complete various other tasks before heading home around midnight. The job allowed John and Dave to interact with baseball legends such as Thurman Munson, Brooks Robinson, Carlton Fisk and Cal Ripken Sr., among many others.
On Friday, they'll both take the field at a York professional baseball game again, but this time it will be for a pre-game ceremony at Sovereign Bank Stadium. John and Dave Woltman will be honored with other former players from York's minor-league history before York's new professional baseball team, the Revolution, plays its first home game in the Atlantic League.
Both men are still heavily involved in baseball. Dave, 50, has been an officer in the Susquehanna League for more than 15 years and John, 53, is a coach for York Township. But the brothers both regard the experience they enjoyed during their youth as some of the best moments in their lives.
"We can pretty much say we lived our dream" said Dave Woltman, who worked for the York White Roses (the predecessors to the Pirates in York) as a 10-year-old food vendor before becoming a batboy. "It was an experience like no other."
One of Dave Woltman's best memories from his time as a batboy came when the Pirates played a game against the Baltimore Orioles' Double-A affiliate at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. The Pirates would play one game a year there on "York Night" before an Orioles' game, and a familiar face made his way into the home dugout one night and sat down next to Dave Woltman. It was Robinson, who started his pro career in 1955 with the White Roses.
"He asked me if I knew where he got his start in baseball," Dave Woltman said with a laugh. "We sat together for a couple of innings. It was a fantastic experience."
John Woltman often filled in for the Pirates' trainer as he got older and the 53-year-old remembers heading to a Laundromat on a road trip to Providence, R.I., once to wash the entire club's uniforms in the middle of the night.
He was also often in charge of handing out the team's meal money each day, which was $8 per day.
"My parents held the job over me all the time," John Woltman said. "They would always say, 'If you don't do your school work you won't be the bat boy.'"
Trout to also be at home opener: George Trout -- who was the public address announcer for the White Roses starting in the early 1950s -- will also be at Sovereign Bank Stadium on Friday to introduce the 13 former White Roses players.
Trout has collected a number of photographs and programs over the years from his time with the White Roses and Revolution officials borrowed many of the photographs to make enlarged copies. Trout said team officials plan to line the walls of the new stadium's luxury boxes with the copies of the old photographs.
The 78-year-old also said he was looking forward to seeing the new stadium and introducing some of the players he used to watch on a daily basis.
"Once you're in radio for a long time, you never get it out of your system," Trout said. "I'm still hanging around the microphone here and there."
-- Reach Jeffrey A. John son at jjohnson@yorkdis patch.com or at 505-5406. Read his blog, "The Hot Corner," at yorkdispatch.com/blogzone.