Brad Farrah: In life, Ritchie pitched perfect game
Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2016
By Brad Farrah
Special to the Salisbury Post
I know Jay Ritchie was a great athlete and ball player but I also knew him as a wonderful person, co-worker, employee, and friend. He worked with me the first day I took over the dealership, and the last day when I sold it, and almost every day in between. He was dependable, honest, interesting, and a joy to be around. He was also a great salesman. If I had a sale force full of Jay Ritchies, my days as a dealer would have been must easier and much more successful.
The other sales people always complained that everyone who came to the dealership would ask for Jay. Whether they wanted a new car or just to shoot the bull about baseball, sports or politics, he was always the most popular person in the store. They also complained that Jay had more privileges than the rest of the salesmen, like reading the newspaper on the showroom or snoozing at his desk. I always said his seniority and his sales numbers allowed him to be special. He was a loyal employee who was always was the sales leader or close to it.
We all looked up to Jay. When he had something to say, you listened closely. He told it like it was and usually did not sugarcoat it, and it probably needed to be said.
Jay not only knew many people in the community but he had many famous friends. One day on the showroom the salesmen called Pete Rose’s call-in radio program to check if Jay’s stories on their acquaintance were true. Pete not only knew Jay but recalled their playing days and asked how Ol’ Jay was doing. That put a stop to anyone questioning the authenticity of Jay’s memories.
We had a lot of fun in the showroom, too. We had a garden snake visit us on the showroom and one salesman in particular showed a fear of snakes. The next week I ran into the showroom after hearing a major commotion in the showroom. I found the salesman laughing at that salesman who found a big rubber snake that Jay had put in his desk drawer. We saw that snake many more times, too.
Jay was also very popular with my family and out of town friends. When visiting, they always wanted to meet Jay, and would check in with him to catch up on return visits. All the factory and bank representatives knew Jay, and would check with him to see how the car market was or his take on current sports. Everyone liked Jay.
When Jay played baseball, it was a better game than today. Jay played ball before ball players were paid big money. He played at a time when the players had much more integrity, and they were men you could look up to, because they played for the love of the game. Jay was definitely one of these men.
Jay sold cars because he loved it and he loved to be engaged with people and life. He was devoted to his dear wife and wonderful children and grandchildren. So, when you look at Jay Ritchie’s life and the way he lived that life you see, he pitched a perfect game.
Brad Farrah, former owner of Brad Farrah Pontiac GMC Nissan, lives in Salisbury.