Merchants’ Iron Man: Reliable Purdy remains productive for MerchantsFew would dispute Cal Ripken’s Iron Man status for his 2,632 consecutive games played streak.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Few would dispute Cal Ripken’s Iron Man status for his 2,632 consecutive games played streak.
Ripken, however, didn’t spend his down time working a job.
Jared Purdy, the Jamestown Miller Lite Merchants version of Cal Ripken, rarely misses a game either. But in the many hours spent away from the diamond he’s working for a living.
When the Jamestown native isn’t working 60-70 hours a week self-employed in Fargo spraying foam insulation, he’s in the lineup for the Merchants and will be this weekend, of course. After all, if the Merchants are playing, Purdy will be there.
“He has missed like five games in his 13 or so years of Merchant ball,” team manager Bryan Erstad said.
Actually, it’s 14 years, but one can forgive Erstad for being off a year when it comes to the dependable and productive Purdy.
“I like competing, I guess, and trying to stay young,” said Purdy, a 1998 Jamestown High School graduate.
Despite running his own business, and raising a family, which includes two kids, Purdy is the lone Merchant to play in all 23 of the team’s games this summer. He leads the 14-9 Merchants in hits (19), runs (17), at-bats (74) and stolen bases (10) and has shown little evidence of slowing down at age 32.
“When I started, the Hogans (Wayne and Doug) and Piatz (Bob) were the old guys. Now, we’re the old guys,” Purdy said. “It doesn’t get any easier, but we keep trying.”
The Merchants take on the Fargo Expos today at 5:30 p.m. in the first game of the Class AAA state tournament at Jack Brown Stadium. The Jamestown Elks, the three-time defending state champions, play the second game against Groton, S.D. Three more games will be played Saturday and the championship Sunday.
The Elks have won three straight state titles, but the goal for the Merchants remains the same.
“To win it,” Purdy said. “We’ve picked up some good younger players along the way. Hopefully that will get us over the hump.”
If the Merchants are able to knock off the younger Elks, don’t expect Purdy to walk off into the sunset. Asked how long he plans to play, “As long as Bryan (Erstad) makes me. … As long as we’re competitive, we might as well keep going.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com