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Robinson ushers in new career in retirement

by on April 24, 2014
Former AEP employee and current Cincinnati Reds usher Larry Robinson (center) enjoys a day at the Great American Ballpark with his two grandsons Sammy (left) and Brady.

Former AEP employee and current Cincinnati Reds usher Larry Robinson (center) enjoys a day at the Great American Ballpark with his two grandsons Sammy (left) and Brady.

Larry Robinson spent a lot of time making sure everyone got to the right place at the right time during his 28-year AEP career, so it was only fitting that he continued that activity – and even kicked it up a notch – during his retirement.

Robinson, who retired in 2002 as a process centering coordinator at Philip Sporn Plant, spent most of his career at Gavin Plant in maintenance and training and also signed on as a facilitator for the AEP Institute, passing along his knowledge to other employees after he left the active work force. “I met a lot of employees while with the Institute,” he said.

In 2007, Robinson and his wife, Laura, decided to move from Belpre, Ohio, to Cincinnati, Ohio, to be close to their daughter, Amy, and their two grandsons.

“After one year living here in Milford, Ohio, Amy suggested that I start ushering for the Cincinnati Reds (major league baseball team),” Robinson recalled. “I have been around baseball my entire life. My father coached men’s baseball in the 1930s and 1940s. I played baseball until I was 24 and have coached at several age levels. I even coached girls’ fast pitch softball for several years, and Amy was an Ohio all-state softball pitcher in high school.”

Robinson decided he had nothing to lose, so he took a shot.

”I called the Reds and asked what it would take to be an usher,” he said. “They said just apply and attend a couple of meetings; plus, I had to join the ushers’ union. “

That was seven years ago, and Robinson is now in his sixth year of “working” as an usher for the Reds. He said his primary duties include checking tickets, seating guests in the correct seats for Reds’ home games and trying to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable visit to the ballpark in a family atmosphere.

So were the Reds his hometown heroes growing up?

“Not really. I grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and then later on became a New York Yankees fan,” he said. “I was raised in Williamstown, West Virginia, and after I started to work at the Gavin Plant, we moved to Belpre.”

Robinson said even though the ushers are close to a lot of the players and coaches, there isn’t much time to pal around with them. But what about catching foul balls or home run balls?

“We don’t get many chances to interact with the players or coaches,” he replied. “And when a lot of balls are hit into the stands during batting practice, we are not supposed to touch them. However, once in a while I will get one and give it to a small child once the fans come in. The look on their faces is priceless!”

Robinson said he did have one memorable encounter with a Los Angeles Angels dignitary on opening day 2013. He was stationed at the home plate end of the visitors’ dugout prior to the game, and a distinguished-looking gentleman and his entourage were seated in the front row near him. “I could tell right away these were not ordinary fans,” Robinson said. “The gentleman who sat in the front row end seat was very well groomed and I could tell his suit was not bought ‘off the rack.’”

Robinson said he struck up a nice conversation with the man, and he noticed that as the Angels’ manager and players entered the dugout, they all waved and said hello to him.

“When the Reds took the field, I told him I was going to leave and get out of his way,” Robinson said. “He stood up, shook my hand, called me Larry (he must have seen my name tag) and told me he had enjoyed talking to me. When I got home after the game, I looked him up on the Angels website. I had just met and spent some time with Artie Moreno, sole owner of the Angels, a self-made multi-millionaire! I told my wife I had a new best friend!”

So does Robinson trek to the park for every Reds home game over six months of the season?

“I worked 50 games last year. I could work all 81 home games if I wanted to, but this is my ‘fun’ job,” he answered. “ I love being around the game, helping people find their seats, directing folks to food stands, gifts shops or whatever they are trying to find.”


From → Retiree Profiles

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