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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Pearl Sandow - My Kind of Gal
When the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., invited major league baseball teams to nominate their most loyal fan, the Atlanta Braves chose Pearl Sandow.
Miss Sandow had attended 1,889 consecutive Braves games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, from the first game the Atlanta Braves played there in 1966 through the 1989 season. For 21 years, she was a regular at spring training. The Braves became her extended family.
On May 12, 2002, the Canton native was honored as the Braves Best Fan at an ceremony on Turner Field. Four days later, she celebrated her 100th birthday with the gift of her own jersey — numbered 100, of course — at her assisted living center in Canton. Among the guests were former Braves pitcher Phil Niekro, sportscaster Ernie Johnson and some former Atlanta Crackers.
When then-Braves owner Ted Turner learned about Miss Sandow's loyalty around 1975, he issued her a lifetime pass. She sat in Seat 1, Row 9, Section 105. She purchased an adjacent seat to park her purse and paraphernalia; she always listened to the game on the radio while watching.
Only rarely would she bring along a knowledgeable baseball friend, such as the late Myrt Powers of Buford, winner of the TV quiz show The $64,000 Question using the category of baseball.
Miss Sandow quickly endeared herself to the players. "I remember one day I was there and a player hollered to her, 'Hey, Pearl.' " said her cousin Dot Patterson of Canton. "It was Pete Rose."
Jerry Royster had a special fondness for Miss Sandow. After a game in which the third baseman had made several errors, Miss Sandow walked by the dugout and saw Mr. Royster crying, Mrs. Patterson said. "She sat down with him, and talked with him," and helped lift his spirits.
Pearl Sandow, 103, of Canton died Monday at Canton Nursing Center. The body was cremated. The memorial service is 2 p.m. Sunday at Huey Funeral Home.
Miss Sandow, a supervisor with the federal department of urban housing and development in Atlanta, was born into a baseball-loving family. "She claims that when she was 6 months old her mother took her in a basket to a baseball game," Mrs. Patterson said.
In 1936 Miss Sandow bought season tickets to the Atlanta Crackers. She missed only one home game from then until the team disbanded in 1965. "She missed a game in 1961 when her mother had a stroke," explained Mrs. Patterson.
Miss Sandow knew Joe Torre, a former Braves catcher and now New York Yankees manager, from the time he was a bat boy for the Crackers, Mrs. Patterson added.
Miss Sandow would make a pilgrimage to New York when the Yankees were in the World Series, which was often. She switched allegiance to the Braves when they moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee in 1966.
Bill Bartholomay, former chairman of the Atlanta Braves and owner of the Milwaukee Braves, in a 2002 Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, said of Miss Sandow: "She was a rock star in her own right. A good luck charm. You knew when she was there. She was infectious. People wanted to get to know her. She represents the best of what the Braves found when they moved to Atlanta."
In 1990, Miss Sandow fell and broke both shoulders and ruptured an artery. She was unable to attend Braves games afterwards but kept her seats. Her seat at the new Turner Field — Seat 1, Row 15, Section 207, which she never used — remains empty, marked with a plaque in her honor.
A lifelike papier-mache statue of Miss Sandow was created for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown about 1990, but she was never able to make the journey to see it. In 2002, it was brought to Atlanta for the Best Braves Fan salute to Miss Sandow and placed in the Atlanta Braves Museum and Hall of Fame for the remainder of the season before its return to Cooperstown.
Miss Sandow, who continued to follow the Braves on TV and radio, remained sharp into her 11th decade. Another cousin, Jan Paterson of Canton, said at the Best Fan salute, "She told the umpires she wished they could see the ball as well as Bobby Cox."
There are no immediate survivors.
Steve, Forum Admin
Hit Grass, Win Salad
Man, this is baseball. You gotta stop thinking. Just have fun.
- Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, in The Sandlot
I've been going to games since August 8, 1973....and on August 22, 2004, finally, a foul ball came my way. I had to reach for it, and it deflected off the tip of my right index finger. Shoot, if I was only 4 inches taller!
Have you read The Baseball Same Game?