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    • Has anything been said about Tom O'Toole
  • To:All
  • 6/17/12
  • xforemanjoe

Tom O'Toole is the guy who always sits in the first row of seats on the first base sit and changes caps every inning. He has always been there for every Friday game and games on holidays but I have not seen him or his wife in well over a month. Since I don't get a chance to hear the Indians broadcasts all the time I was wondering if anything has ever been mentioned about him and his wife during the games.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/17/12
  • 1bonz
Nothing that I have ever heard buddy. I don't get to watch every game though.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/17/12
  • xforemanjoe

When they are on the road we listen to the home teams announcers on Extra Innings and my wife and I both have been worried something happened to either him or his wife because they have been there for every Friday night game since they opened the stadium but the past month and a half they haven't been there and you can always see them when there is a left handed batter up to bat.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/17/12
  • 1bonz
I will keep an ear and an eye out for them buddy.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/17/12
  • xforemanjoe

They have articles about him and his wife on the internet and there is even a facebook page dedicated to the "man with the hats" but there hasn't been anything updated since the last time the Indians played Chicago in Cleveland.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • cantonguy
I hope nothing bad happened to him or his wife. They are both legends when it comes to fans. I usually follow them every Friday night home game to see what color hat it is. Even when he goes to the restroom, she takes over...LOL
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • xforemanjoe

Yeah when he leaves she always keeps the tradition going wearing the hats herself. It just isn't like them not being there on Friday nights. They have been there every Friday night and on holidays ever since the park opened and even at the old park it is a tradition.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • tunz909
I recall someone called in to "Chuck's Last Call" and stated he worked for the guy, I think it was in the accounting business...the guy must be in his mid 70's from what I remember he said. Maybe Galeti has the number of the guy who called and you can take it from there. The caller sounded in his 50's.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • xforemanjoe

Here is a story about Tom and his wife in case someone doesn't know who we are talking about.

After the Indians make the third out of an inning, Tom O'Toole hoists the blue duffel bag from beneath his seat and reaches in for his next hat, which is invariably neon.

He's a man of many neon hats, and while his face may be unfamiliar to Indians fans, those hats certainly aren't.

The glowing hats have become a staple of telecasts from Jacobs Field. For when the camera cuts to a tight shot of a left-handed batter, to display stats or highlight concentration, O'Toole is often visible in the seats over the hitter's shoulder.

But only a lefty with gaudy numbers can garner attention away from Tom and his hat, which could be pink, yellow, green, etc., depending on the inning.

"Look out there in the bleachers and what do you see?" Tom asked during a recent Tribe game against the Twins. "Nothing. It all blends together, so I just thought I'd get something that would be a little bit snappy."

He has been in Row 1 behind the visitors' dugout, making it snappy alongside his wife, Joanne, since the Indians moved to Jacobs Field in 1994.

"This is the only time in my entire life that I wear a hat," he says. "I never wear a hat otherwise."

The O'Tooles have been season-ticket holders for 40 years, but Tom was hatless during the seasons at Municipal Stadium.

"They didn't have the same setup with the cameras and all that," he says. "I just do it to be part of the game, you know. Add a little color."

Quite a lot of color, but not for every game. The O'Tooles make it to 20 or so each season.

"I can't go to 81 games," Tom says. "I'd drive myself crazy. [The players] go to all the games, but [many of them] make a couple million dollars."

He notes that some fans like to hold bets, guessing which hat he'll go to next, and a savvy trend-spotter would realize that money could be made here, as the hat rotation is the same each game.

Underneath the bill of each hat is a sticker, indicating which inning it is to be worn.

It's the same hat, same inning, each game he attends.

And like old-fashioned scoreboards that were prepared for maybe 11-inning games and revert back to inning one, if necessary, he starts his hat rotation over if the game goes a few more than the expected nine.

His 10th-inning hat, an orange one, came out of the bag on Sept. 5, and just before the Indians mobbed Ryan Garko after his game-winning RBI, Tom returned to his seat, and Joanne returned his hat.

She had been wearing it, which is their routine when he takes a break from the action.

"Fans get upset if they look over here and don't see the right color at the right time," she says with a smile.

The couple, residents of Willoughby, rarely miss a Friday game. When they go to breakfast the next morning, Tom says they often hear something along the lines of, "Tom went to the bathroom in the sixth inning because Joanne was wearing the hat."

Willoughby denizens often alert Tom the day after spotting him at a game, but the hats are getting plenty of attention from Indians fans far and wide.

"People come down [to the seats] from all over the country," Joanne says. "And they bring their phones down to ask, 'Will you talk to my mom?'"

"Yeah," Tom chimes in, "and then I have to come up with a conversation. I have a good time doing that."

Fans also bring their own hats down to that first row above the visitors' dugout, asking for signatures. But a more surprising request came during the 1997 World Series, when Gov. George Voinovich, an acquaintance of the O'Tooles, asked Tom if he'd mind wearing a State of Ohio hat.

Voinovich also wanted Joanne to wear a sweatshirt with "See Ohio" written across the front.

Of course, the O'Tooles complied, and in fact, many of the hats are gifts from friends.

His seventh-inning hat is a yellow Indians hat with a red bill. Tom considers this his best hat. It was a gift from a friend in Baton Rouge, La.

Is that also his luckiest hat?

"I don't think there's any luck connected with this," he says.

His first-inning hat, a canary yellow number, was a gift from the guys at the post office in Willoughby.

But what if the couple shows up late to a game? Does he rush the hats in, maybe more than one change per inning?

He scoffs at this hypothetical scenario.

"Late for a game?" he asks incredulously. "We're never late."

And when they arrive, they sit and quietly enjoy the game.

"Even though I go through this hat routine," Tom says, "I'm a very conservative guy."

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  • 6/18/12
  • xforemanjoe
Tom O'Toole & his wife Joanne were Travel Journalists but are retired now.
  • Reply to this Message
  • To:All
  • 6/18/12
  • Vaard

"I can't go to 81 games," Tom says. "I'd drive myself crazy. [The players] go to all the games, but [many of them] make a couple million dollars."

Even the hat guy knows that the drummer is a few fries short of a happy meal.

  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • tunz909
hey thanks for giving us the skinny!;-)
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • tunz909
I didn't hear or see him at Saturdays game with the Pirates. Imagine sitting close to where he pounds that drum, mercy.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • cantonguy
I'd love to meet them and thank them for being a part of the game, even for a few seconds every inning. God bless them, I hope everything is okay.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • xforemanjoe

I figured this explains who I was asking about in case some people didn't know who he and his wife were.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/18/12
  • xforemanjoe

I sure hope you go to a game and get a chance to meet them because then we would know they are both okay.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/19/12
  • cantonguy
As of right now, I think I am going to a Friday game this season, so I will keep my eye out for them unless we see them first.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/19/12
  • xforemanjoe

Well my wife and I always look as soon as a left handed batter comes up and they haven't been there since sometime in April. My wife looked some stuff up on the internet that she could find and I think she found that the wife's Mother passed away in April. She checked newspaper sites around the Cleveland Ashtabula area and found out about that.
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/19/12
  • Gabe Paul
I heard from "the back of the bus"he ran away with a stripper from Mexico... Whos cares!
  • Reply to this Message
  • 6/20/12
  • vic25
You have got to be kidding me? What a classless response you have made. I hope you are very proud of yourself.
  • Reply to this Message
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