As a big league baseball player, Todd Frazier gets to meet all kinds of folks.
“That’s the world,” the Cincinnati Reds third baseman said. “You meet new people, and you help ‘em along the way.”
While having dinner at a downtown restaurant Monday night after playing the Pirates at PNC Park, Frazier met a man whose name he did not know. But he did know the man needed help. Desperately. He was choking on a piece of meat, Frazier performed the Heimlich Maneuver and likely saved the man’s life.
“It was just like anything, like a bases-loaded situation, a tough situation,” said Frazier, 26, who is in his first full season with the Reds. “You don’t think about it. You just do it. I learned that from my father. Just react to things. I was just glad I was there to help him out.”
Dining with teammate Ryan Ludwick at a mostly empty Capital Grille on Memorial Day evening, Frazier said he heard choking sounds from a nearby table. He saw what he described as a “bigger man” bent over with two women, one a member of the wait staff, trying to perform a two-person Heimlich.
It wasn’t working.
“In those kind of situations you don’t think,” said Frazier, the Big East Player of the Year at Rutgers and the Reds’ first-round draft pick (34th overall) in 2007. “It was surreal. Kind of dreamy. When I sat down, I had two more bites and I’m like, ‘Ah, I don’t think I’m hungry anymore.”
The man paid for the players’ dinner and thanked Frazier profusely but never gave his name. Restaurant managing partner Rick McMaster referred the matter to Mike Bernstein, media relations director of the parent Darden Company. He did not return phone messages.
Frazier said he never performed the Heimlich before, But he thanked Karen Clouser and John DeMarco, who taught his CPR courses at Toms River (N.J.) High School South.
“That was years ago,” Clouser said. “He’s got a good memory.”