Legg Back In SWB With Lehigh Valley
MOOSIC — It’s almost unfair to ask Greg Legg to sift through three decades of memories and ask for a favorite.
There are too many. So many, he insists, he looks back on some of them as if in disbelief.
Did that really happen? Could it have? The times have changed and the years have passed. So many of them.
“It’s a comfort to be back,” the Lehigh Valley IronPigs bench coach said Monday afternoon, leaning back in a chair just outside the visiting clubhouse at PNC Field. “A lot of good memories surfaced. They happened so long ago, it was almost like they never happened.”
Hard for even him to believe, but Legg hasn’t been back here, in uniform, for a professional baseball game since he hit .298 for the Red Barons in the last 29 games he’d ever play in1994. Back then the ballpark looked much different, of course. An upper deck hovered above him. No walkway stood in left field. Fans flooded Lackawanna County Stadium, not PNC Field, back then.
That’s the main reason why Monday night’s first 2019 battle between the IronPigs and the rival RailRiders at PNC Field didn’t feel so much like a return to a ballpark in which he played so many games as it did a homecoming for the area’s adopted son.
“The Legger” first came to this ballpark at the foot of Montage Mountain on the night it was born, a 29-year-old utility man who was born in San Jose. Back then, he was looking for one more shot at the big leagues.
He found a home.
In 1989, he met his wife Noreen, then an employee at Lackawanna County Stadium, and they were married two years later. They’ve lived in Archbald since, and on Sunday night, Legg spent a rare night at home with his wife, son, daughter and two dogs.
Legg’s ties to the Scranton area began then. During the offseasons after that inaugural season, he worked as an ambassador of sorts at Lackawanna County Stadium’s ice rink with longtime visiting clubhouse chief Paul “Red” Brower, who joked with Legg about the times he’d drive the Olympia ice resurfacing machine to repair the skating surface between sessions.
In turn, Legg said he was surprised and thrilled to see Brower as he walked into the clubhouse, a familiar face after all these years.
“It’s just a good beginning to the season, to be home already,” he said. “I’m pumped up.”
Just as good as coming back so early in the season for Legg is the fact that he gets to return at the end of May, when the IronPigs are back in town during the planned Red Barons reunion weekend, which starts May 31. He’s looking forward to seeing beloved Red Barons manager Marc Bombard have his number retired and hung on the wall alongside Legg’s and RailRiders manager Dave Miley’s in left-center field.
Spending parts of six seasons with the Red Barons, Legg played in 473 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and his number 14 is the only one retired for a player. That’s a blessing, he said, one you never quite understand why you deserved. But his ties to the community in which he is still beloved for his hustle and dedication on and off the field remain strong.
“The biggest thing is, when there’s a need, someone is in trouble or someone’s kid gets sick, the community rallies around each other and helps out and pitches in,” Legg said. “It’s a great place to raise your kids and send them to college and high school. That’s the things I remember most. It’s the family atmosphere and traditions.”
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