The five-time Atlantic League champion Somerset Patriots helped a local man celebrate his 100th birthday at TD Bank Ballpark on Sunday.
Phil Yannich was the team’s special guest at the game against the Camden Riversharks. Before the game, Yannich was met down on the field by Patriots manager Sparky Lyle, who presented him with a personalized team jersey with the words “Yannich 100” and a Patriots hat.
He then threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game and had the baseball signed by Lyle, who wrote “Phil, Happy 100th Birthday!”
Yannich was joined by over 50 of his family and friends at the game, set up by Brandywine Senior Living in Bridgewater, where Yannich has lived the past two years. He also enjoyed a birthday cake made up of cupcakes for all of his party guests.
“It was a lot of fun meeting Phil and being a part of his celebration at the ballpark. You can tell that he really enjoyed being at the game and all the activities he participated in while he was here. We wish him many more years of health and happiness,” said Patrick McVerry, President/General Manager of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.
Yannich’s parents both came over from Italy and raised their children in Jersey City. He met his wife Helen in Jersey City when she was his next-door neighbor. They moved to Green Brook, where they raised their three children, Phil Jr., Ronald, and Lisa.
Yannich served as an Aerial Engineer in the Air Force for three years and also was employed as an aerial inspector for an air reduction company. He later worked for the Wall Street Journal on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.