Former PSU QB takes in Series
Sitting quietly alongside his two brothers at the end of press row inside of Volunteer Stadium, former Heisman Trophy runner-up Richie Lucas wasn’t signing autographs. He wasn’t reminiscing about his playing days at Penn State, either.
In fact, most of the people in the stadium probably didn’t even notice he was sitting there.
Other than an usher briefly stopping him on his way out of the stadium to mention she had season tickets for Penn State, Lucas probably didn’t hear much talk about the Nittany Lions.
But rather, Lucas was there to do what everyone else at the Series was in attendance to do: sit back and relax while watching a Little League game.
Lucas was on hand for the day to watch the Caribbean Region champions of Guayama, Puerto Rico, play Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, in an elimination game which Puerto Rico won, 9-4, Wednesday afternoon.
For about six years now, Lucas — a native of Glassport — has been making the trip with his brothers to the Little League World Series. Usually he tries to get to the tournament early so he can take in a handful of games during the day.
Lucas admitted he doesn’t have a favorite team and doesn’t particularly root for anyone when he’s here. He just loves the game of baseball, especially Little League. Lucas said that he played Little League when he was younger when Little League Baseball was still in its infancy and far from the huge youth organization it is now.
Lucas’ favorite thing about seeing the Series in person? Watching the kids’ bats come alive in games.
“I love watching hitters,” Lucas said.
Lucas also mentioned how he has a huge appreciation for the volunteers at the Series and said he enjoys the atmosphere of seeing the games in person rather than on television.
Lucas played at Penn State as a quarterback from 1957-59. In his senior year, he won the Maxwell Award which is given annually to the country’s best player, and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up, losing out to LSU’s Billy Cannon.
He was selected in the first round of both the National Football League and American Football League drafts and ultimately ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills in the newly formed AFL. He played quarterback, halfback, defensive back and kick returner.
Lucas, known as Riverboat Richie for his gambling nature when calling plays, is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, being inducted in 1986.