A Dream Come True Turns to Heartbreak for Batboy, 14

Associated Press

The Georgia labor department ordered the Savannah Cardinals to fire their 14-year-old batboy, saying child labor laws come before baseball tradition.

Tommy McCoy was fired six weeks into his dream job under a state law that forbids children his age from working at night.

"At least I was batboy for that long," he said. "I just try to forget they had to let me go."

The team did not like the decision anymore than Tommy did.

Hiring young batboys is common in minor league baseball, Savannah Cardinal General Manager Ric Sisler said.

"We feel we were singled out. I'm sure if you examine other minor league parks around the nation, you'll find the exact same thing happening," he said.

"We fully respect the law as far as the child labor law is concerned, but at the same time, we feel this is stretching it too far."

The state labor department notified the team that 14-year-olds are not allowed to work past 7 p.m. before June 1 and not after 9 p.m. between June 1 and Sept. 6.

"Tommy McCoy and his parents took this hard. It was a dream job for him. All the players enjoyed him and his mom told me his schoolwork has improved," Sisler said.

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