Nearly 40 years ago, Jay Mazzone was the most famous batboy in the major leagues.
As a 12-year-old, he joined the Orioles in that magical season of 1966 when they won their first World Series. He captured the attention of the national news media as he picked up bats and balls with metal hooks attached to his limbs. As a 2-year-old, he lost his hands after his snowsuit caught fire.
"I met presidents Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon," he said the other night from his Parkton home, where he lives with his wife, Bobbie.
The sportswriters liked what they saw. "He does everything that a boy his age with hands can do, and he does it better than most," a Sun reporter wrote in 1966. As batboy for visiting teams, he worked Sandy Koufax's last game.
Mazzone, 54, is now working not far from Oriole Park. He is a heavy equipment operator for R&F; Construction Co. and is at work on Eutaw Street near the Hippodrome. He has held the same job for many years.
"Ninety-nine percent of our work is for Baltimore City," he says. He recently helped complete paving jobs on President Street and at Market Place. "I always did like outside work.
"I go down to Oriole Park occasionally. There aren't too many people left from my era. I shoot the breeze with Boog Powell."
Mazzone retired as a batboy in 1971 after participating in four Oriole pennant seasons and being given a partial World Series share that year.