Samie Anderson chose to celebrate his 105th birthday with family and a few of his favorite people.
The Baltimore Orioles.
The centenarian fan returned to Baltimore on Sunday, where he lived for more than 70 years and was a devoted baseball fan, from Durham, N.C. The Orioles welcomed him with a photo session on the field with his favorite current player, center fielder Adam Jones.
"I know who you are," said Anderson, smiling and raising his arm for a handshake, greeting the player. Anderson does not hear well and his voice is soft, but he is in otherwise perfect health, said his daughter, Dale Anderson.
Jones bent low over Anderson's wheelchair and the two talked baseball. Anderson played first base in his youth and his nickname — which still fits — was "Skinny."
Born in 1908 to farming parents, Anderson left Shuqualak, Miss., in 1933, "hoboing" with friends on freight trains and seeing the country before stopping in Baltimore. He didn't leave the city until 2009, when the death of his son meant he had to live with his daughter in North Carolina.
"I never was out of a job and I never got fired from a job," he said.
He said he had only an 11th-grade education but learned to cook at the aprons of his mother and grandmother and worked in restaurants in Aberdeen, Baltimore and Annapolis. He was known for his lobster Newburg at the old Fred's Restaurant, a popular dining spot for years in Annapolis.
He met his wife, Ruby, at the historic Leadenhall Baptist Church, not far from where he watched Sunday's game.
When the Orioles came to Baltimore in the mid-1950s, he began to go to games with the owner of Fred's, who always had tickets, and would take his children to games, too. His all-time favorite player was Brooks Robinson, but Jones is his favorite now.
When the Orioles heard of his wish to see a game to mark his recent birthday, they provided tickets for his daughter, her son, Marcus Anderson Duff, his wife, Bianca Duff, and granddaughter Angel Duff from Durham. Baltimore relatives Samara Lomax, his niece, and her children, Samuel, 13 and Shelby 16, were also on hand, along with family friends.
How often does Anderson see the Orioles now that he is far from Baltimore?
"Every time they are on TV," he said.
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