Bingeman receives ‘well-deserved’ honor from Fightin’ Phils

By on September 6, 2017
Ephrata’s Harold “Bingy” Bingeman (center) with wife Nancy on right, is presented the Neale Bechtel award by a Reading Fightin Phils staff member on Saturday, August 26. Photos courtesy of Reading Fightin’ Phils

Ephrata’s Harold “Bingy” Bingeman (center) with wife Nancy on right, is presented the Neale Bechtel award by a Reading Fightin Phils staff member on Saturday, August 26. Photos courtesy of Reading Fightin’ Phils

The Reading Fightin’ Phils surprised Ephrata Borough resident Harold (Bingy) Bingeman with the club’s fourth annual Neale Bechtel award before the Fightins’ game on Saturday, August 26.

The award is presented each year to the game staff employee who has gone above and beyond to bring fun to FirstEnergy Stadium, just like Neale always did.

“No, I didn’t know,” admitted Bingeman, when he sat down for an interview on September 1. “They told my daughter to tell me that I was going to throw one of the first pitches. I was standing in line with 30 kids.”

But Reading General Manager Scott Hunsicker announced that the 2017 recipient was unable to attend the original presentation date of August 31. “This is a surprise to ‘Bingy,’” he said. “Let’s have him come out here, please.”

“The week before, they asked me if I was going to be at the last game,” explained Bingeman. “I said no, I’m going to Middletown for dinner. They protested, and I knew something was up. Before the presentation started, I was under the impression it was for 20 years of service.”

That 20 years is just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to longevity for ‘Bingy.’ He also worked for the Ephrata Post Office for 40 years before retiring in 1986. He has lived in the same house on Penn Avenue in Ephrata Borough for more than 50 years. Not to mention that on his November 14 birthday, Bingeman will be 93 years young.

He is still a proud veteran of the United States Army, wearing a gray ARMY tee-shirt to the interview.

“I graduated from Ephrata in late May of 1943,” declared Bingeman. “Two weeks later, I was in the Army. Two years later, I’m involved in the invasion of the Philippines. After that was over, I was in the invasion of Okinawa. I’ve been blessed, surviving two big battles like that.”

The connection with the Phillies AA club began in 1997.

“A guy came up to me and said, ‘You like baseball. Apply for a job there’ (Reading),” added Bingeman. “A couple of weeks later, I went to the guy who did the hiring. He hired me and that was it.”

Over that 20 years, you would have always seen ‘Bingy’ in the same part of the ballpark.

“I work way out in left field,” he said. “They have that picnic area. That was my request. I don’t want to work on concrete. I have a brick in front of the stadium that says ‘Bingy on the deck’.”

Bingeman went on to describe his tasks on the deck at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“There are 40 tables out there,” he said. “People or companies rent those tables. Every now and then someone will say ‘I don’t want to sit with them. I work with them all week long.’ It’s unbelievable.”

“A fair amount know me (you bet!),” added Bingeman. “People that have season tickets in the grandstand will come out to the deck to heckle me sometimes.”

Bingy cut back on the number of games worked three years ago, before turning 90.

“I used to do every game,” said Bingeman. “Seventy games from Ephrata to Reading is a lot of running. Now I’m not the head man at the deck any more. This year, I only did 15 I believe. I’m part time at this point.”

After some prodding, Bingeman admitted that 2017 was probably not his last.

“I’ll sign up,” he said. “I would say about February, they send out the information. My wife (Nancy) would be glad if I quit but I want to keep going. I don’t want to sit in a chair and do nothing.”

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One Comment

  1. Britt Weaver

    September 6, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    A very well deserved honor for my Uncle Bingy!! Congratulations!!

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