HENRY “YUP-YUP” DROSKY
Sports Fan Celebrity – Clarksburg Icon
December 29, 1921 – November 9, 2007
Sharon Sprouse Bramhall
Clarksburg had its share of characters in the 1950s. There was “Pop Bottle Pete” and “Wheelbarrow Willy” who made their living by wandered the local roadways collecting discards, and then there was “Yup-Yup Henry”. As Clarksburg native and radio celebrity, Carl "Buzz" Floyd, put it: “He was a real Clarksburg icon!”
He was born Henry Drosky on December 29, 1921, to Polish immigrant, Stanley Drosky (1892-1967) and his wife, Bertha (1900-1987), a coal miner and wife, who settled in Clarksburg, West Virginia. It is believed that they had three sons. Henry, the youngest, grew to be a tall, skinny guy with a dark shock of hair, a predominant nose, happy eyes and a perpetual smile, whose total focus in life was sports. He attended every local high school football game at Hite Field, a field shared by Clarksburg rivals, Victory High School and Washington-Irving High School. Always attired in a long raincoat, without fail, Henry could always be seen standing on a high rise just below the concession booth, near the corner where one would enter the home team side.
Mentally disabled from birth, his body jerked involuntarily. His fingers moved constantly, whirling the change in his pockets – snack money handed to him by passers-by. Clarksburgers considered him one of their own – he had their affection and their protection. Everyone spoke to him, and his broad-grinned response to everyone was “Yup-yup, yup-yup”, hence, his nick-name.
Whether Henry was moved to Morgantown, possibly to be nearer family following the death of his mother in 1986, it is not known – but he readjusted. With transitor radio always at his ear, he began to attend all the West Virginia University football and basketball games, absorbing every sports statistic he heard.
It was said that he never, if not, rarely, had to pay for ticket or fare. Even Greyhound bus drivers gave him free rides to the Pittsburgh games. According to Freddie “Mr. Harrison County” Layman, WVU coaches always gave him a couple of bucks, to which he would often reply, "You can give me $5 if you want to." So I guess he COULD count!!
Near the end of his life, plagued with cancer, Henry received a visit at the nursing home from Coach Don Nehlan and some of the WVU football players who presented him with an autographed football, according to Layman.
Henry was the last of his immediate family when he died at the age of 85 - but surviving are his countless friends throughout the state of West Virginia, as well as those who carried memories of “Yup-Yup” with them to the far corners of these United States. For those of you who lended a hand, gave him a lift, or a dime or a dollar at some point in his life, there’s no doubt you were made better for the opportunity. Indeed, to everything and everyone there is a purpose.