Adam Interviews Len Lustik

Former Red Wings scorer weaves together life and baseball

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - All you have to do is drive by Len Lustik's Brighton home to realize he's a man who collects things, much of it linked to baseball.  

Above his garage a Wrigley Field sign hangs proudly.

Some of his favorite memorabilia comes from the place he started going to with his dad in the 1940s, Silver Stadium. 

“For a Jewish boy they say the rite of passage is you got your bar mitzvah when you’re 13, no, for a Jewish boy who loved baseball, that’s the first time you go down to the stadium and that was it,” Lustik said recalling a game when he was 8 years old.

Attending the games was a tradition handed down by his father.

“My dad who passed away at 99 was at the stadium, before Silver where you had horses and carts sitting there,” Lustik says. 

Then came the day in 1972 when Len became more than a Red Wings fan. 

A friend of his who was the scorer for the team asked Len to step in for one game.

“He never came back,” Len said with a laugh.

Len, an accountant by day, came back over and over again not even realizing for the first month it was a paid position.

“I spent more time on that rule book than I did on the tax code,” Len said.

Part of the job was to call hits and errors so he wasn't always Mr. Popular.

One game a player even confronted him after the game over a call.

With the Red Wings and Monroe County still in talks over a future lease agreement to play at Frontier Field, there has been some talk this week about what would Rochester be like without the team that’s been here for well over a century.

We asked the man who sees the team as the stitching that connects much of his life. 

“Everyone has a story about what the Red Wings mean to them, I think it would be a disaster,” Len said. “Everyone has been there, they’ve been with their grandkids, that’s where a lot of things have evolved, even one of my marriages evolved at the stadium.”

Len's big screen proposal during a game and the big “yes” came six months before his wife passed away from ovarian cancer, but he looks back upon that moment fondly and he holds onto it tightly because Len collected from the Red Wings more than things.

“Tremendous memories, no bad ones at all,” Len said.



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