Marty Nave, 61, has lived on Syracuse’s North Side for most of his life. He is the 3rd Ward chair of the Syracuse Democratic Party, a longtime Neighborhood Watch leader and works at Rite Aid in the Nottingham Plaza. He attended his first Syracuse Chiefs game when he was 10, and has been a loyal fan ever since.
Tell me about the first Chiefs game you went to.
It was Sunday, June 2, 1963. They played the Little Rock Travelers. My grandfather took me, and I was hooked. The first time I went into MacArthur Stadium, I saw the baseball field and the green grass and I was in amazement. I had watched baseball on TV, but when you see it in person …
How do you keep track of all the baseball dates and players’ names?
People always ask me that. It’s all in my head. I have Tourette Syndrome, which might be part of it. I don’t mind if people know that. In all my life I was not going to let it prevent me from things I wanted to do.
Why is Syracuse baseball important to you?
I work at Rite Aid on Nottingham. I see all the SU fans and the SU football players and basketball players. I was brought up on the North Side. I was drawn to baseball. Fifty years ago my brother Chuck and I stayed up and listened to it on the radio.
Where’s your seat?
I’ve been going to the games with Dave Smolnycki for 40 years. In the old MacArthur Stadium we would sit behind home plate. When the new stadium opened, we decided to do the same thing. I’m in section 204, Row 8.
Do you think the stadium should have been built where it is or downtown?
I personally was glad it stayed here. Twenty-five years ago the international league was demanding all the stadiums have new and refurbished stadiums. The county had the land here. At the 11th hour, as Armory Square was rising, people wanted it there. Then it would have been on the West Side. I have been to city stadiums, such as in Buffalo. Your parking is much more expensive. The seats are narrower. If you want to get something to eat, there’s no concourse where you can watch while you eat.
What’s your favorite game?
Sunday, July 9, 1967. I went with my grandfather and my brother Chuck. We went to a double-header against the Buffalo Bisons. The Chiefs lost the first game. The second game was seven innings. Stan Bahnsen went on to pitch a perfect game. That was special. I still remember that game. … My darkest moment was Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. Stephen Strasburg was pitching. Every time I hear his name I remember. My phone rang. My sister in law called me: “Your father has been in an accident.” He was killed by a career drunk driver.
It sounds as if Syracuse baseball has been part of your life through ups and downs.
It has. It has really kept me going, going to baseball games and getting to know the players over the years.
Who do you follow in the majors?
I’m a Yankee fan, but I always found myself rooting for the Toronto Blue Jays when they were in their glory days.
Who’s your favorite player?
When I was growing up, everyone liked Mickey Mantle. I like Joe Torre. I was so happy when Joe Torre became the Yankees manager. I met him once at a game in Norfolk in 1981 during the players strike. He did a public service announcement for Tourette Syndrome. He really touched me.
What do you do when there’s a Yankees game on the same time there is a Chiefs game?
I used to watch a New York game on TV and have a Chiefs game on the radio. Sometimes I watch a Chiefs game here and listen to a game on the radio.
For more Face Time – CLICK HERE