Story by Dominique Patrick Photos by Peyton Zeigler
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Imagine a music performer who's dedicated his life to Broadway-style musical theater, performed hundreds of times, traveled far and wide to live his musical, magical dream. You probably would think he doesn't have many more "firsts" left in him. Who would've thought, he fulfilled another "first" Thursday night at an unlikely location, the Syracuse Chiefs $1 Hot Dog Night?
I sat down with Syracuse native, Bill Salamone as he enjoyed the view of the Syracuse Chiefs' game from NBT Bank Stadium's party deck--well, actually the side of the deck. He and his wife sat watching the game attentively.
Because of him playing lead in community musical theater with the Pompeian Players for over 40 years, singing comes effortlessly. Our Lady Pompei is a Catholic parish and church which was the base for the troupe. Although he has quite the resume in musical theater, he still had to rehearse in preparation for Thursday night's performance.
After performing the national anthem over 50 times, the assumption may be that singing the national anthem on a baseball field was just another duplication on his bucket list. When the question arose if had he anticipated the delay in the microphone and speaker during singing, shockingly, his reply was that he had never sung on a field before--"a different treat" is how he described it. As a diehard Chiefs fan, there was no better place to finally perform a national anthem game opener.
He told of his loyalty to his hometown team, supporting the Chiefs since the 1940s at 11 years old,. The '40s and '50s where simpler times known for a loaf of bread costing 12 cents and 29 cents per gallon of gas. Even so, Salamone couldn't afford tickets to the baseball games.
"We would sit outside behind center field and wait for a home runs to come out there or left or right field, and then if you got a ball, you were happy and you went home," he continued. "As I kid, I remember going to MacArthur stadium as often as I could, and we had our heroes and they were the Syracuse Chiefs."
Mid interview he begins to name off every player and their position from the 1947 Syracuse Chiefs team.
I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, let alone the roster of team over 75 years ago! (I'm not anywhere near that age, but you get the point).
"I'm not that active anymore, but when you hear that applause, you just can't stay away."
As soon as I complete my last question, I then become the interviewee. A media interview turned into a pleasant chat with a Syracuse showman.
For a man in his early 80's, I was shocked to find Salamone still full of life and energy. Amazingly, his eagerness and excitement still makes him crave new things, new productions and new audience member's standing ovations. I doubt this will be his last, "first" anytime soon.