Clarke Schmidt’s father flies Yankees to Tampa, in a truly unique memory

The pitcher of the New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

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Clarke Schmidt had the last 48 hours to remember. Firstly, his team won 6-2 against Rays. Secondly, the New York Yankees’ pitcher embarked on a journey to Tampa with a touch of familiarity by his side. His dad, Dwight Schmidt, who is a Delta pilot, was in command of the Yankees’ team charter departing from Newark Airport on Thursday.

Clarke Schmidt’s special flight experience

Clarke Schmidt and his father.

The presence of a pilot with nearly three decades of experience was not lost on the players. Clarke Schmidt shared his excitement, revealing, “Word got around before the flight, and once we were on board, news of it spread like wildfire among the team. It was a unique and interactive experience for many of us; we had the chance to explore the cockpit and see things from a pilot’s perspective.”

Dwight Schmidt had previously taken the reins of the Yankees’ team charter, notably for their “Field of Dreams” game in Iowa in 2021. However, this particular flight held a deeper significance for the Schmidts. When the earlier flight took place, Clarke Schmidt had been assigned to Triple-A. Therefore, the recent flight piloted by his father was an emotional journey for the talented right-hander.

Yankees's starter Clarke Schmidt pitches against the Rockies on July 15, 2023, at Coors Field.

Recalling the flight, Clarke Schmidt stated, “It was incredibly smooth overall. While there were some crosswinds during landing, it was a relatively seamless experience.”

Dwight Schmidt’s involvement in the flight was not a coincidence. Delta had extended an invitation to him to captain the plane, an offer he gladly accepted. The opportunity allowed him to witness his son’s participation in Saturday’s game against the Rays.

Manager Aaron Boone, who had recently shared a flight simulator session with Dwight during the team’s stay in Atlanta, spoke about the experience. Boone commented, “It’s always a fascinating aspect. The players truly enjoyed it. Dwight is an amiable and remarkable individual.”

Beyond the sentimental aspect, having a familiar face in the cockpit had additional benefits. It provided a chance for the Yankees to address reliever Wandy Peralta’s fear of flying. Peralta had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the cockpit environment before takeoff.

Clarke Schmidt concluded with a lighthearted note, saying, “We believe we made progress with Wandy. There was definitely less nervousness from him during takeoff. Some of the guys even joked that with my dad piloting the plane, they felt a heightened sense of security.”

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