Since 2007, Louisville baseball and superfan Todd Esser have been inseparable.
Esser, who was born with permanent brain damage that left him unable to use his arms or legs, fell in love with the Cardinals during Dan McDonnell’s debut season. It was then that, on a whim, he ventured over to Jim Patterson Stadium from Day Spring, the residential facility where he had lived since 1999.
The game was Louisville vs. Oklahoma State, with the Cardinals needing a win to advance to their first College World Series. In front of a record crowd, U of L blasted the Cowboys and turned Esser into a fan for life.
Quickly, Esser and McDonnell forged a close relationship. McDonnell welcomed Esser to the stadium for batting practice two and-a-half hours before every game, and gave him a permanent seat near the U of L dugout.
Since ‘07, McDonnell is the only person who has been more of a fixture at Jim Patterson than Esser. Unfortunately, the park won’t look the same next spring.
Immediately, current and former Cardinals took to social media to share their thoughts.
Tough day for the Cardinal baseball family. You'll be missed by many. Rest easy Todd. https://t.co/Z61AzJuMta— Cody Ege † (@cpege13) July 27, 2017
To our #1 fan couldn't of asked for a better person and even more importantly friend. Came to support us everywhere you will be missed Todd!— Nick Burdi (@NickyBurdi19) July 27, 2017
Saddened to hear the news about our great friend. Todd, I'm so thankful I got to meet someone who no matter what, put a smile on my face. https://t.co/yWIcJzyWZz— Drew Ellis (@drewellis10) July 27, 2017
You’ll be missed, Todd.