‘Best seat in the house’

DONNIE SCHMIDT, THE VOICE OF THE YANKEES, has manned his customary seat in the Yankees’ press box for this year’s Class C Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. Photo / Per Peterson

After calling local amateur games for decades, the voice of the Yankees

shows off his dulcet pipes on a whole new level during the Class C Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament

By Per Peterson

They might not have looked like Milroy Yankees amateur baseball games, but they sure did sound like them.

As one of the two hosts for the Class C Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament, Milroy and the Yankees are putting on a three-weekend showcase, and anyone who has attended a Yankees game over the last three decades surely felt right at home during the tournament, thanks, in part, to longtime PA announcer Donnie Schmidt.

With his distinctive Polish accent, Schmidt’s Minnesota roots are quite evident, and whether he’s talking about this year’s crop, or Yankee baseball, his unmistakable tenor has endeared him to Milroyites and Yankees fans since 1984, when the lights and press box over the visitors’ dugout were  installed.

“Back in the day, I think Hal Schommer was announcing, and … I don’t remember how I actually got started,” Schmidt said. “Did I get asked or did I get volunteered? I really enjoyed it, because I had guys helping — Lon Walling and a few other guys. We had a lot of fun. We all kind of need to help the ball club, and if I wasn’t announcing I’d be doing something else.”

Today, all these years after his first game behind the mic, no one can imagine Schmidt doing anything else than announcing.

Schmidt has watched a plethora of memorable games over the decades, but nothing — not even the state tournament — can compare with announcing his sons’ games. Andy, Adam and David have all played for the Yankees, and Schmidt announced every one of them. But one day stands out.

“Adam had a Legion game here in a playoff game, and we went extra innings, and in the 11th inning, Adam got the winning single,” Schmidt said. “Then the Yankees played, and we go extra innings against Granite Falls and Andy gets the game-winning, walk-off single. Two extra innings games — Adam walks off the first one and Andy the second.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.