You are here: Home > News 

4-year-old Tot T-ball player wins first pitch honors

July 23, 2013 

Jeannie Roberts (440) 885-8181 / (216) 346-9935  

PARMA, Ohio – George Hartwig is going to walk his tiny four-year-old body out onto Progressive Field, which is about a million times bigger than anywhere he’s ever been. He’s going to hold a regulation major-league baseball in his little hands, and then he’ll do his best to toss it in the general direction of forward.

It’s a moment he’ll never forget … if he remembers it past bedtime.

George’s name was drawn from those entries in a drawing for Parma residents who bought advance tickets for Parma Night from the city’s Parks & Recreation Department. The winner had to be 17-or-under to throw out the first pitch, which is usually an honored reserved for the Mayor. Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter decided it was a better idea to have a drawing for a Parma child to do it.

Which brings us to George … he’s four years old, and he’s about to accomplish something that is on a lot of bucket lists. Parma Night at Progressive Field is July 31; the Indians will play the Chicago White Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.; George’s will be slightly earlier than that. He’ll be accompanied by his parents, George and Katie, and maybe even 2-year-old brother Grant.

“He sort of knows what it means, but maybe not exactly,” George’s dad said. “If he was a year or two older, he’d be all over the place excited.”

George’s parents were excited just to take him to his first game, so they bought tickets for Parma Night through the Parks & Recreation Dept., where George participates on the Spitzer Kia Tot Tball team. “We just wanted to show him the ballpark, take him to a game and now he’s going to actually be out there on the field,” George said. “I tried to tell him how big it is and he said, ‘Is it going to be the same as when I play T-ball, Dad?’ And I said, Maybe a little bigger than that.” Said Mayor DeGeeter: “This is exactly what we had in mind when we turned the first pitch into a contest … the kids get excited, the parents get excited. A Parma kid, in this case George, gets an opportunity very few people ever have. And he’s only four. That’s awesome.”

To prepare his son, George Sr. brought out the IPad and called up some video of Progressive Field and of others throwing out the first pitch. But to George, the IPad means only one thing. He dutifully watched a few seconds of video and said, “That’s cool, Dad, can we play that video game I like now?”