NEW BRITAIN – The buzz is all around one of the New Britain Bees biggest fans after he was honored in a big way on his birthday.
Al Nelson was recognized at Thursday’s game with a proclamation from the city. August 3rd is now declared, “Al Nelson Day,” in New Britain.
“I’m just so glad that I’m here and they’re doing this for me I’m totally amazed I can’t believe it,” Nelson said. “It’s wonderful.”
After being given a New Britain Bee’s personalized jersey, Nelson was invited on the field to read the starting line-up.
Nelson is known for his dedication to the New Britain Bees as the longest standing season ticket holder.
“I love the game, I love the people that are associated with it,” he said.
The owner of the Bee’s spoke to Nelson on the phone at the game and told him he now has a season ticket for the rest of his life.
“Since I was with the New Britain Red Sox in 1983, here in New Britain, Al has been there,” New Britain Bees General Manager Gerry Berthiaume said. “It’s our honor that we have people like Al who are season ticket holders with us.”
Nelson is known in the community for decades of service. He said he is most proud to be a veteran. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War II.
He then dedicated 30 years to the New Britain Fire Department.
“I was always proud that I could serve the city,” he said.
Nelson has been living in New Britain in the same house he grew up in. He rides his bike to New Britain Stadium for day games, which he has been doing for decades.
Berthiaume said his first memory of Nelson was at Beehive field.
“I remember Al purchasing a ticket and coming in on his bicycle and he looked at me and had this face and question of saying where do I put my bicycle, you don’t have a bicycle rack out here?” Berthiaume said. “With that, I looked around and thought very quickly and ended up putting his bicycle in an electrical room at beehive field where it was and it maintained every time Al came in.”
He said from that point on, he saw Nelson at almost every game.
“I mean, second to our mascot he is definitely the #1 fan here,” he said.