Schaumburg baseball superfan dies at 81

  • Tom R. Smith of Schaumburg, who had 18 years of perfect attendance when he took in his 1,000th home game at what is now Schaumburg Boomers Stadium in August 2017, died last month at the age of 81.

      Tom R. Smith of Schaumburg, who had 18 years of perfect attendance when he took in his 1,000th home game at what is now Schaumburg Boomers Stadium in August 2017, died last month at the age of 81. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Posted6/12/2019 12:28 PM

Local baseball superfan Tom R. Smith, who attended every game at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium from its opening in 1999 until the team's most recent Frontier League championship in 2017, has died at the age of 81.

Only his move to South Carolina for health and family reasons ended his streak of more than 1,000 consecutive home games, said former Schaumburg village Trustee Lynne Peterson, who frequently sat near Smith at the ballpark.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Smitty, as he was called, never wanted to be within earshot of a non-baseball conversation during a game.

"I just think he was one of those old, true baseball fans who grew up with the game," Peterson said. "He just loved the purity of the game, the intricacies of the game."

On the occasion of his 1,000th game at the stadium in August 2017, Smith described it as his personal fountain of youth.

"I wish that was me going out there," said Smith, who lived in Schaumburg before his move to South Carolina "I relive my youth every single game."

Peterson believes the size and intimacy of an independent or minor league stadium were key to what he was looking for. He needed to hear the crack of the bat and the sound of the cleats on the dugout steps.

Schaumburg Boomers officials say there are discussions under way on the possibility of a plaque in his honor being put up at the stadium, General Manager Michael Larson said.

A local memorial service for Smith was held for him last Monday at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.

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