Kirsch-Rooney to pay deserving tribute to baseball man, longtime assistant Schulz
This year, fans at New Orleans’ home of baseball for the last 60 years, Kirsch-Rooney Stadium, will notice some changes – a new video board in right field, covered batting cages down the left field line, new fences to move the bullpens out of the field of play, improved lighting in the grandstand and flooring upgrades to the restrooms.
One thing you may not see will be every bit, if not more, important.
Chances are, if you attended a game at Kirsch-Rooney in the last three decades, Otto Schulz Jr. was there as well.
Schulz, a Holy Cross graduate, had a great passion for baseball, going back to his youth. As a 19-year-old just out of high school, he played for the Opelika Owls in the Class D Georgia/Alabama League. A Korean War veteran, he remained involved with American Legion baseball during summers.
When Schulz retired after 38 years at South Central Bell in the late 1980s, then-Delgado baseball coach “Rags” Scheuermann offered him the opportunity to get involved with the Dolphins program.
“Rags” handed the reins of the Delgado program to his son, Joe, following the 1990 season, but Schulz was there all the while – keeping the scorebook for home and away games, running the Kirsch-Rooney scoreboard, or any other administrative job that needed to be done for Delgado, prep, Legion, All-American or any of the other 300 or more games per year that passed through the ballpark.
Last August, Schulz died at the age of 84 – ironically, perhaps, on the one week of the year where the local All-American franchise was in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for its annual trip to play for the AAABA national championship.
On Saturday, between games of the “Rags” Scheuermann Memorial Tournament – played on “Rags” Scheuermann Field at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium – the place that was Schulz’s second home for the last quarter-century of a life fully lived will get a new name.
The Schulz family will get to unveil a new sign to the Kirsch-Rooney press box, which will hereafter be known as the Otto Schulz Jr. Press Box.
You look out in center field at Kirsch-Rooney and you see the baseballs memorializing those who have gone before us, coaches and players.
Once upon a time, Otto Schulz played on the baseball fields of New Orleans. At Kirsch-Rooney, he left his mark in the press box. Saturday’s dedication is a fitting tribute to a man who continued to make baseball a part of his life until his final days.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…