Dr. Sheldon Goldgeier

Age 75: He shared duties as Orioles physician from 1966 to 1993 and showed 'warmth and caring' to his patients.

July 02, 2008|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun Reporter

Dr. Sheldon Goldgeier, a retired physician whose days as an Orioles team doctor included treating injured tendons as well as bee stings in the upper deck, died of lymphoma Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Easton resident was 75.

From 1966 until 1993, he was behind home plate and on call for players and fans alike at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards.

"He was an integral part of the Orioles family," said former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell. "He was a great doctor and a good friend. He never looked down on anyone, and he never refused to treat anyone."

Born in New York City, he moved to Baltimore as a child. A 1951 City College graduate, he earned degrees at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He was an intern and first-year resident at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. From 1960 to 1962, he was a captain in the Army, serving a year in Korea.

He completed a residency and a pulmonary fellowship at Duke University. He then returned to Baltimore and in 1964 established a private practice with Dr. Leonard Wallenstein. For many years they saw patients, first on 36th Street in Hampden, later in the Rotunda on 40th Street.

"My father-in-law was beloved by his patients not only for his medical expertise, but for the warmth and caring he showed each individual," said his daughter-in-law, Kathy Goldgeiger of Rockville.

In the middle 1960s, Orioles owner Jerry Hoffberger arranged for Dr. Goldgeier and Dr. Wallenstein to assist the team. The medical work continued as the Orioles ownership passed to Edward Bennett Williams and Eli Jacobs.

"There were times when my husband would leave the house at 7 a.m. and not get home until after midnight when there was a late game," said his wife of 50 years, the former Myra Silberstein. "It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too."

His daughter, Eileen Goldgeier of Carolina Beach, N.C., recalled her father's duties. He and his partner alternated game coverage. Their duties included stocking the first-aid room at the ballpark and getting to all home games early. Dr. Goldgeier also treated visiting team players.

"We grew up in Memorial Stadium," said his daughter of the many times she accompanied her father. "I have a memory of him sitting under the screen behind home plate. There was a phone and a jack under his seat. He was on constant call."

In addition to doing the players' annual physical examinations, he treated spectator bee stings, foul ball bruises, heat stroke and problems related to pregnancy and intoxication.

"He was a good friend and a confidant to me," said former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer. "I remember a time I had a sharp pain. The newspapers initially reported I had a heart attack. I saw Dr. Goldgeier and it turned out to be a pinched nerve. I was around him so many years that he was just part of the family."

Dr. Goldgeier followed the team south for spring training. He attended the franchise's minor league system and the front office staff. "He also occasionally treated the Oriole wives," his daughter said.

He served as chief of the medical staff at the old North Charles General Hospital in the 1980s and was an attending physician at several other medical institutions. He was a former president of the Maryland Society for Internal Medicine and belonged to the Baltimore City Medical Society and the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.

In 2001, he retired and moved to Easton, where he taught courses related to medicine at the Institute for Adult Learning at Chesapeake College and the Academy of Lifelong Learning at the Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. Family members said he enjoyed a variety of new pursuits, including watercolor painting, photography, fishing and birding. He was active in the Talbot County Commission on Aging.

Services were held Monday at Temple B'nai Israel in Easton.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include a son, James Goldgeier of Rockville; a brother, Barry Goldgeier of Randallstown; and two grandsons.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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