Somehow wonderfully crusty and sweet at the same time, Billy DeLury was a fixture with the Dodgers. Thin as a reed, short in physical stature, he was a presence in the front office, the clubhouse or press box, his heavy Brooklyn accent absolutely unmistakable.
DeLury was starting his 66th season with the Dodgers when he died Saturday evening at the age of 81.
"I was privileged to know Bill DeLury for more than 60 years from the time he was an office boy in Brooklyn and rose to become a most valuable member of the organization as our traveling secretary," Vin Scully said in a team statement. "A Dodger from head to toe. A respected baseball man. And a deeply religious husband and father. Anyone and everyone in baseball who knew Bill will mourn his passing and he will be truly missed."
DeLury first started with the Dodgers as a 17-year-old, working both in Brooklyn and Vero Beach. Over the years he worked in the laundry room, the mail room, sold advertising in the team program, worked with minor league program, ticket office, and then what he became best known for, served as the team's traveling secretary for 20 years in Los Angeles.
"Billy's consistent dedication and outstanding character were both an inspiration in our front office as well as a daily reminder of our roots in Brooklyn," Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. "His presence will be missed by all who knew him."
Inside the organization, he was nearly as much an institution as Tommy Lasorda and Scully. Few things were as enjoyable as hearing DeLury regale a small audience with tales of the old Brooklyn Dodgers.