2019 will be a milestone year of sorts for Watertown’s Lee Dahlberg.
The retired Luther Prep teacher and varsity baseball coach will begin his 50th season as an usher for the Milwaukee Brewers in spring.
Dahlberg worked his way up from assistant chief to chief and finally to a supervisor position. He has served in a supervisor role on the club level at Miller Park for the last 10 years.
“It’s probably indescribable,” Dahlberg said. “First of all, to be healthy enough at my age to still be able to do it. To be around that atmosphere of major league ball, I’ve always been a baseball fan. At Luther Prep, I coached varsity baseball for 20 years. It was a lot of fun seeing my students play and then seeing the major league level and learning more all the time about the game and enjoying it.”
Dahlberg’s start with the team came when he attended a game with his children and spent time chatting with an usher.
“It was a long wait,” Dahlberg said. “We talked to one of the ushers and asked if they ever needed help and he said yes, they did. I wrote them a letter saying I’d be available for an interview. It turned out I got a call a week later asking if I could stop at the stadium at 5:15. They said, ‘We want you to work.’ I never got interviewed, I just went to work right away.”
Working for the Brew Crew has been a family affair as all three of Dahlberg’s children have spent time ushering and, to his surprise, his wife, Ruth, as well.
“When Ruth retired from teaching in 2005 she had told me all the time she would not work as an usher,” Dahlberg said. “In February, before we did retire in 2005 we were driving to Minnesota and along the freeway she says, ‘I think I’ll work for the Brewers this year.’ I was shocked.”
Serving as an usher during Miller Park’s All-Star Game in 2002 and the team’s 1982 World Series appearance brings back fond memories for Dahlberg. An Easter Sunday game at Milwaukee County Stadium sticks in his mind as well.
“The highlight of my time there other than the World Series was the Easter Sunday game in 1987 when they needed that 12th win for the so-called George Webb hamburgers for everybody,” Dahlberg said. “And of course continuing the 12-game winning streak to start the season. They were down 4-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. Rob Deer hit a 3-run homer to tie it up. Jimmy Gantner got on base and Dale Sveum hit a home run to win the game.”
Walking around the concourse at Miller Park is a far cry from the team’s old digs at County Stadium.
“At County Stadium, we would freeze in the spring and in the fall,” Dahlberg said. “One of the supervisors at that time would tell especially the new ushers that until the Fourth of July to wear everything you have in your closest. That wasn’t far from the truth because it was pretty cold. It was also fun. The stadium held more people so it was a bigger crowd but it wasn’t enclosed so when it was raining you’d wonder if they were going to play the game or not.”
When the 2019 Milwaukee Brewers season commences Thursday, March 28, Dahlberg’s service with the team will have officially lasted five decades.