Leo Carlin never expected to spend 52 years with the Philadelphia Eagles.
After serving with the Marine Corps, Carlin needed to find a paying job as he began his new life. He and his wife, Kay, were preparing to welcome their first child into the world. Carlin started out with the Eagles' ticket office on a part-time basis in 1960.
In 1964, Carlin was hired full-time and has since overseen the transition of the ticket database from Franklin Field to Veterans Stadium back to Franklin Field for one year because The Vet was not yet ready and eventually to Lincoln Financial Field. Along the way, Carlin has forged an insurmountable amount of friendships within the Eagles organization and with the fans.
On Thursday afternoon, Carlin, now the team's Director of Ticket Client Service, was told that team Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie wanted to speak with him. Carlin called the time waiting for Lurie's call "the longest six hours" of his life. Carlin could not imagine what Lurie wanted. Finally, Lurie called around 9:45 PM and after jokingly going through a list of what he was not calling for; he welcomed Carlin into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.
"I probably didn't hear what he said after that because I must have thanked him 200 times," Carlin said. "He was so nice, so gentlemanly, well-prepared the way he spoke to me, I couldn't have asked for a better conversation."
Carlin and former cornerback Troy Vincent will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame during the Monday night game against the Carolina Panthers.
"I can't believe the two of us will be singled out among almost 70,000 people," Carlin said.
As the Eagles' popularity grew over the years, Carlin has been a man in demand as a gatekeeper to the team's tickets. The one thing he wanted to let the fans know is that he genuinely cared about each and every one of them.
"I cared about every one of the sixty-sum thousand people," he said. "They didn't always know the effort that went behind it, but I absolutely cared about every single seat, every single request."
When recounting the memories from the past 53 years with the organization, Carlin can recall who had which seats and where certain boxes were located. He said he is proud of overseeing the transition from stadium to stadium. In 1970, Veterans Stadium was supposed to open, but construction was not going to be complete in time for football season. Carlin had to transition everyone from the new stadium back to Franklin Field. There was another obstacle. The Eagles were scheduled to play a Monday night game that season. That is how Franklin Field finally got lights.
As someone who is used to ticket demands, Carlin is a little bit worried he won't be able to handle the requests from his family. Carlin said to never toss out the phrase "invite the family" around him because that means 38 people are coming.
"I'm a little bit worried about that because I heard from everyone in my family," Carlin said.
Needless to say, Carlin will have to work his magic once again.
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