HEISER: York County man combines passions for family, baseball to achieve rare feat
- West Manchester Township's Steve Robertson has attended a game at every major league stadium.
- He finished off the rare feat with a visit to Safeco Field in Seattle in mid-August.
- The 61-year-old Robertson plans to continue visiting ballparks for the foreseeable future.
Steve Robertson loves his family and loves baseball.
Over the years, the 61-year-old West Manchester Township man has combined those two passions at nearly every opportunity.
Whenever Robertson gets a little time off from his job as treasurer at Hanover Foods, he grabs some family members or some friends and visits a major league ballpark.
He's been doing it for decades.
Less than a month ago, Robertson completed a truly rare feat — one that any baseball fan would envy.
With his trip to Safeco Field in Seattle in mid-August, Robertson could boast that he had attended a game at every current major league park.
For those counting at home, that's 30 different stadiums from sea to shining sea.
Family affair: Robertson made the trip to the northwest with his wife, Sue.
Many of the ballpark visits, however, have been with his son, Mike, and his sons-in-law, Daniel Barrett and Josh Trotter.
In fact, in recent years, the fraternal foursome has developed a Fourth of July vacation tradition where they travel to two or three ballparks each summer.
"I love baseball, and spending time with my son and sons-in-law was also a big part of it," Robertson said. "It's a good way to share time and bond. Plus my wife is a big baseball fan, too, and we've done a lot of vacations at ballparks."
Camden Yards is his favorite: Robertson has been going to major league games for most of his life, starting with a trip to Baltimore's Memorial Stadium in 1965. Memorial Stadium, of course, is now just a memory, but Robertson's passion for the game was born.
So was his love for the Orioles.
He's followed them though thick and thin ever since and still counts Oriole Park at Camden Yards as his favorite all-time stadium.
"I'm a big fan of old-time stadiums," Robertson said. "Fenway Park (in Boston) is my No. 2 favorite stadium. Camden, even though it's new (built in 1992), it has the old-time feel with the warehouse that takes you back in time, like you're back in the '30s. That's what I like. Plus it has all the modern amenities and my favorite team plays there."
Among Robertson's special mementos, in a house packed with baseball memorabilia, are a ticket and a program to an Orioles-Yankees game in 1956, which just happens to be the day he was born. It was given to him by his son.
Robertson's baseball travels, however, haven't been limited to stadiums. He's also visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York — a place he calls Mecca — at least a half dozen times and will probably return there soon. He's also stopped at the Field of Dreams in Iowa — a place made famous in the Kevin Costner movie.
Also a player: In his younger years, Robertson wasn't just a baseball fan, he was also a player, first at West York High School and later for Shiloh in the Central League. Mostly, however, he competed in the York County Old-Timers League — 21 seasons in all, until finally giving up the game at age 58. That earned him a spot in the league's hall of fame.
Robertson's devotion to his family and the game has impressed those closest to him, including his daughter, Amy Trotter.
"I think it's incredible," she said. "He found something he loves so much and he just followed his passion. It's a pretty unique thing he was able to do. It's not an easy thing do."
He's not done yet: While Robertson's visit to Seattle completed an unusual accomplishment, he's hardly done traveling to ballparks. His son has visited 21 different stadiums.
"He has nine to see yet, so I'll make sure he gets to those," he said.
In addition, the Texas Rangers will soon open a new park, so a visit there is also likely down the road.
So Robertson's baseball odyssey isn't over just yet — far from it.
After all, it's the journey, not the destination, that is often the most rewarding.
Completing that journey with his family made Robertson's baseball feat something he will cherish forever.
"It was a nice thing to do," he said. "It was a nice thing to accomplish. The whole idea is to do it with people you're close to and you love. That makes it all the better."
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.