There weren’t many baseball games that Mel ‘Sarge’ Ostrom missed as a batboy or as a fan. In fact, he was a fixture around the diamonds for over 40 years and was involved with the Regals, Astros, Devons and the Miller Express.
Unfortunately, when the boys of summer return to the diamond this season, Ostrom won’t be there — he passed away Thursday afternoon. He was 63 years old and was living in Providence Place since August.
“I remember him being the happiest guy on the field when we were winning and the grumpiest guy when we were losing,” stated Terry Marak. “He wanted us to win so bad every game that you couldn’t put into words.”
Although the details are mixed as to when Sarge began his start as a batboy for the local baseball teams, many believe it was with the Regals in the 1960-70s.
“Sarge was well established as batboy with the Regals before I came along in 1974,” stated Rod Heisler. “He lived for the game. He was the organization’s number one supporter and fan and not just because he had the number one on his jersey.”
When Olafson came along with the Astros in 1988, Sarge was “already solidly entrenched by then.”
Olafson and Sarge had a long friendship that started with baseball and had blossomed from just field talk to him calling Olafson during the winter months just to stay in touch.
“We go way back, almost 25 years. I was probably Sarge’s best friend in town because of the long-standing relationship we had. Also because I played for so long, I was a constant and Sarge gravitated towards me,” he explained. “He is going to be missed, there is no doubt about it. I’m sure there will be a lot of games when I will be looking over the bench and Sarge won’t be there.”
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.