Moustakas honored to help WWII veteran, happy about crowd’s encouragement during 1st pitch
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The World Series ring ceremony at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday was emotional for thousands of fans watching on their televisions and in the ballpark, but another part of the pre-game also brought out the best in everybody.
Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Benedict Lohman Sr., 97, was chosen to toss out the first pitch in Game 2 against the New York Mets.
Lohman, from Lansing, Kan., is a veteran of World War II and survived three years in a Japanese POW camp. He joined the Marine Corp in 1940, was taken prisoner in 1942, and for three years he worked for the Japanese until the war ended and he was released.
His well-deserved moment before the sell-out crowd of about 38,000 began when he was escorted out to the pitcher’s mound in his wheelchair. Mike Moustakas, third baseman, was serving as catcher for the ceremonial first pitch. He raised his hands and motioned for the crowd to cheer on Lohman.
“He kept asking. He’s like ‘Should I stand up now?’ and I was like, ‘It’s up to you, man. If you wanna get up, we’ll get you up,'” Moustakas recalled. “But the first time he stood up was pretty awesome and hearing the crowd cheer for him, that was a pretty special moment and I was just blessed to be a part of that, a small little piece of that, to be able to meet that man and say thank you for everything he’s done for us. That was definitely a special moment in my life.”
Although he said he wouldn’t tell specifics, Moustakas said Lohman made him laugh.
“He’s actually a really, really funny guy. He said some funny stuff when we were out there together.”
“It was just a great day and again everything that he’s done and the life that he’s lived for us for everybody in this room, for everybody in this country, that’s a true hero right there and we’re blessed to be able to go out and play baseball because of guys like him,” said Moose.