Fan claims to be 111, can’t prove age
A baseball fan who says he’s 111 years old and was saluted by the New York Yankees on the field this weekend has no proof of his age.
Bernando LaPallo chatted with Yankees star Derek Jeter before Saturday night’s game against Boston. The Arizona resident playfully calls himself the Yankees’ oldest fan.
But a consultant with Guinness World Records who specializes in validating the ages of older people said public records show LaPallo was born in 1910, not on Aug. 17, 1901.
”Many extreme age claims in the past have turned out to be false,” researcher Robert Young told The Associated Press in an email Sunday.
Young also is the senior database administrator for the Gerontology Research Group, which keeps a list of verified age claims of supercentenarians — people who are at least 110.
Young said LaPallo would be the second-oldest man in the world if his claim was true. A man in Japan is 116.
LaPallo told the AP on Sunday that many people doubt him because he’s in such good condition.
”It is hard to believe,” he said by telephone. ”And because I can pass for 65 or 70, people say it’s impossible.”
LaPallo’s granddaughter said his birthdate was incorrectly written down as 1910 instead of 1901 at a Social Security office in Florida during the mid-1930s. Ekayani Chamberlin, who runs a fitness Web site with her grandfather and promotes his lectures on aging, says the family doesn’t have an official record of his birth in Brazil.
Chamberlin said the place where LaPallo was born was leveled long ago and that historians were welcome ”to try to dig through the records.”
”I don’t have any doubt about his age, no,” she said. ”My grandfather has never lied to us.”
Chamberlin said Young and at least one other researcher had previously been in contact with her family, trying to verify LaPallo’s age.
”At the end of the day, whether he’s 112 or 102, I’ll guess he’s in a lot better health than Mr. Young,” she said.
LaPallo attracted quite a crowd while the Yankees took batting practice before playing the Red Sox. He stood without assistance and showed nary a wrinkle, recalling how met Babe Ruth before the slugger was a major leaguer.
LaPallo said he first saw the Yankees in person when they were called the Highlanders and played at Hilltop Park, their home until 1912.
The Yankees congratulated LaPallo on the scoreboard during Saturday’s game and he got a big cheer from the crowd.