EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Evansville Otters are grieving the unexpected loss of their biggest fan, Bruce Nathaniel “Secret Weapon” Pitman who died on Sunday at age 67 according to our media partner, Courier & Press.
Pitman, who was a devout fan of the Otters for over 20 years since 2001, was known for showing up to games in full uniform with a cowbell to spark a rally. He would frequently lead Bosse Field in cheers including up to the night before he died which led to the team’s walk-off victory in extra innings during their final home series of the season.
Players on the team speak fondly of Pitman, recognizing his contributions to their success on the field.
“He would get the crowds going in important parts of the game when we needed some runs or needed to shut down an inning,” Andy McCauley said. “It wasn’t all the time, but he chose his spots to help us out and give us a little energy with the cowbell.”
The superfan and superfriend to the Otters was also known for his habit of giving helpful advice to players as a talent evaluator. He was even gifted a pair of championship rings for the team’s Frontier League titles in 2006 and 2016 by the owner of the Otters, Bill Bussing.
“I don’t think he ever met a stranger,” said Joel Padfield, the Otters’ vice president. “He was a super-friendly guy and everybody knew who he was, just like everyone knew who Marvin Gray was. He had that kind of stature in our community and his timing with the cowbell was pretty amazing.”
Pittman’s nickname was given to him by a former Otters player he had bonded with, who had hit a homerun without a name on his jersey. Pitman took it on himself to name the player the secret weapon. When the player moved on, Pitman took on the nickname which was put on the back of his very own custom Otters jersey.
Pittman was born in New Haven, CT is survived by Brenda his wife of 26 years, along with one daughter, two sons, five siblings and five grandchildren. His obituary reflected his love of sports saying, “he was called home to strike the bell with the heavenly team.”
Pittman spent his time in Evansville working for the Marriot Hotel, Casino Aztar, Vanderburgh County Correction and Eastland Mall’s Public Safety. He also served his community in the ways he loved most. In addition to volunteering as a mentor at the Carver Community Organization AARP Program, he was also a basketball coach at the Boys and Girls club. He also enjoyed attending a multitude of NBA games with his closest friends, Moses Malone, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Michael Ellis.
Otters pitcher and USI grad Austin Gossmann wrote on social media, “Bosse will never be the same without you, ‘Secret Weapon’. Regardless of how things were going from a winning/losing standpoint, he was always so enthusiastic about our season and us as a team. I like to think he gave me a little bit of luck Saturday before my start when he was in the tunnel and fist-bumped me on my way out to the field.”
Osbourne Funeral Home says Pitman’s visitation will take place on September 3 from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. The funeral will follow visitation, taking place at noon at Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Our media partner, Courier & Press contributed to this article.