Mets employee Fersch passes away at 49

Mets employee Fersch passes away at 49

Mets employee Fersch passes away at 49
NEW YORK -- Tom Fersch, the Mets' senior director of season tickets and group sales, died early Saturday morning at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City. He was 49.

Fersch passed away a little after midnight from esophageal cancer, in the company of his father and several colleagues and friends.

Though Fersch had been battling the disease for 18 months prior to his passing, he impressed co-workers within the organization by coming to work as recently as a week and a half ago. His desire to live was such that he underwent chemotherapy up until a week before his death, when doctors told him his body was no longer strong enough to stand it.

"He was sick, he was losing weight, he wasn't able to eat, he just never gave up," said team spokesman Jay Horwitz. "He knew he was dying for a long time. He knew what the score was, he just never gave up."

Fersch came to the Mets as an entry-level sales representative 17 years ago after working in marketing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA. Prior to that, he had been a pitcher in college at Washington State University.

During his time with the Mets, Fersch worked his way up the ladder through his strong relationship-building skills and the personal attention he gave to clients.

"Whether you were a friend or you were a customer, he made you feel important, right down to his last couple of moments," said Bill Ianniciello, the former Mets vice president of ticket sales who hired Fersch and was with him in the hospital when he passed away. "He was talking about things that were about the other people in the room. As somebody who worked with him, he built long-standing relationships with people from all walks of life."

With the Mets, Fersch worked to create a series of community outreach and fundraising programs, such as Autism Awareness Night, which Horwitz said was of special concern to Fersch. The program was held for the ninth year on May 7 with Fersch in attendance.

Fersch was known by co-workers and friends for his love of movies and music, especially Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.

More than anything, though, Fersch cherished his connection to the baseball team he worked for. On his deathbed, he was listening to the first inning of the Mets' 2-1 win against the Yankees on Friday when WFAN play-by-play announcer Howie Rose dedicated the broadcast to him. For a moment, Fersch perked up, grateful for the acknowledgment from the organization he so dearly loved.

"He was an extremely loyal and dedicated employee," said Dave Howard, the Mets' executive vice president of business operations. "He really viewed the Mets as an extension of his family, and we felt the same way about him."

Fersch is survived by his sister, Stefani, and his parents, Stephen and Peg.

Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.