(CBS) — Darryl Wilson has made the same trip for 24 years.
“First you start off climbing the stairs in the bleachers, then you walk a small bleacher concourse to another set of stairs in the upper-deck bleachers all the way to the top of the bleachers, then you climb a ladder into the scoreboard,” he said.
As the man inside Wrigley’s iconic manual scoreboard, Wilson has the best seat in the house.
“I can see everything from here,” he said. “Every corner of the park.”
But he says it’s hard work, and it can get stifling hot.
“This is serious work, you’re gonna bleed in here,” he said. “If it’s 90 out, it’s probably 110 in here. We bake, like the inside of an oven.”
Wilson and three others peer out the square holes of the massive scoreboard above the center-field bleachers. Two men man the first floor, and Wilson mans the second and third stories connected by metal stairs and catwalks.
“Everything is reversed in here,” he said. “Normally it’s from left to right, in here, it’s right to left.”
Metal numbers are scattered everywhere, each manually slammed into place once the game begins.
“It’s like an iron worker,” he said. “You’re banging metal all day. Ting, ting, bam, bam, putting numbers in, plates out, changing pitches, putting teams in. It’s manual.”
Wilson leads the show, screaming out scores and pitching changes for the men below.
“Freddy, bottom game, zero bottom the third,” he screams. “Freddy, pitching change, bottom game. Sometimes they don’t understand me, and I have to scream louder.”
Wilson watches a laptop and makes sure scores are updated. On a busy night, there are constantly changing scores from the American League and the National League.
“I hold a clipboard which shows, it’s like a mini-scoreboard and it shows us what the outside scoreboard looks like,” he said. “It lets us know where the teams are, who’s playing each other in each American and National League.”
From his two small windows, Wilson has watched some of baseball’s greatest players step into the batter’s box. Some of his favorite memories are of the Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire home run record chase of 1998 and the Kerry Wood game that same year. But he admits, he still hopes for that one more memory, that one more moment.
“I’ve been here 29 years, so I’d like to retire with at least a World Series ring,” he said. “That’s what all of us are hoping for.”
Wilson says each game is exhausting, but running the show is an adrenaline rush. He also knows his job is unique. Wrigley and Boston’s Fenway Park are the only stadiums in the majors with manual scoreboards.
“Ours is more complicated in here,” he said. “It’s more physical, running up and down stairs.”
But running, screaming and sweating are just part of the job, one he says he wouldn’t trade for the world.
“Something about Wrigley keeps you young,” Wilson said. “I love the excitement.”