After celebrating his 100th birthday on June 1, our beloved Herbie Lewis passed away on Tuesday evening with his wife Anne by his side.
Born on June 1, 1915, Lewis attended both Athletics and Phillies games. He watched Babe Ruth in the later years of his Yankees career at Shibe Park when New York faced Connie Mack’s defending 1931 World Championship team. Lewis often dodged cars while chasing home-run baseballs, which sailed over the wall at Baker Bowl, the home of the Phillies. Lewis resold the baseballs to neighborhood kids for a dime, which later served as his admission to the movie theater.
Lewis played baseball in high school, in the Army and in pick-up games, always carrying a glove a spikes in his trunk as a businessman. He suffered his first heart attack on the field at age 40, trying to turn a double play. It was a hot August afternoon and the sliding runner knocked him into the outfield. He later joined a Men’s Senior League and would be honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as the oldest active player.
Between 1989 and 2008, Lewis faithfully attended the Dodger camp, reconnecting with veteran campers and meeting new friends. His roommate in 1991 was a 26-year-old rookie who on the first morning of camp was worried to see Lewis still asleep at 7 a.m. By 7:15, Lewis was not only awake, but jumping rope with the pace of a caffeinated aerobics instructor. With players groaning and limping with blisters and pulled muscles, Lewis donned a tuxedo for a song-and-dance act during the mid-week talent show.
At camp in 2005 Herbie's Dodgertown teammates presented Lewis with a “Player of the Century” award. That award remains on display in the family’s living room.
Herbie retired from active play in 2008 at the age of 93 but he remained interested in the activities of his beloved camp, campers and DTW friends.
Herbie is survived by his wife of 73 years, Anne, and his son Mark.
Funeral services will be held at Hillside Memorial, 6001 Centinella in Los Angeles on Monday, June 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM.