I remember one evening last summer walking toward the cafeteria at Oriole Park at Camden Yards where the press and team’s staff usually eat dinner.
Walking slowly, since I did not have all of my strength and energy due to a recent chemotherapy treatment, I had about three or four people pass by me, as usual.
But I do remember the one person who came up to me and started talking. Fred Manfra, the longtime Orioles broadcaster who retired this past Sunday, quietly walked up to me and asked how I was feeling. He said he had heard that I was dealing with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, and wanted to know how I was getting along.
I told him the truth, that it was up-and-down and frustrating, but I was going to keep on keeping on as I was about halfway through the treatments.
Which is what I did. By mid-September, I was finished and all was done.
Then, we got into the cafeteria and he said to sit down and told me some of what he had been through (problems with hip issues), and he said you have to just keep fighting.
Now, I knew Manfra a bit. Years ago, his daughter, Stephanie, was a good high school athlete in Harford County who I covered for The Sun a few times, and we had spoken of her on occasion.
I’ll just always be touched by how he somehow knew what was going on with me and took out the few minutes to talk to me. There were days during that process — and even now, nine months later when I’m all finished and trying to move on — when the frustration and worry set in.
But that day, at that time, Fred wiped away all of that stuff for me.
That’s what I’ll always remember about Fred Manfra.
Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
Above photo: Kenya Allen/PressBox
Also check out: Fred Manfra Says Goodbye to Generations of Orioles Fans
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