From the Fanette Club to Fifth Third Field, a Mudhens fan foreverWritten by Barbara John | | email@example.com
The year was 1936… long before anyone had heard of NOW or the Equal Rights Amendment. Most baseball clubs had Knothole Gangs for boys, but in addition to their Knothole Gang, the Toledo Mud Hens did something special for girls, a “ Fanette Club!”
I was 10 years old when my daddy first took me to some Mud Hen games. Before the season was over I was allowed to go to some day games by myself.
There I was with a whole group of kids, with our little autograph books, waiting patiently to get the stars of the future to sign their names. We learned the game; we learned to keep score; we learned that umpires are not always right. We had fun.
My first-ever real job was at KSD and KSD-TV, St. Louis where, because of my knowledge of baseball, I was assigned to cover the games, in person. Wow! I watched the on-field prowess of Stan Musial, Marty Marion, Red Schoendienst, et al. But I also had to cover the St. Louis Browns. It was the year before they became the Baltimore Orioles where the highlight was watching Satchel Paige sitting on a canopied chaise lounge in the bullpen, then dancing on the mound.
I was working for Gene Autry at KTLA when he bought the Angels, and worked setting up their promotional programs. The circle was unbroken. When I was a “Fanette,” Fred Haney was the Mud Hens manager. When Mr. Autry introduced me to his “right hand man,” Fred Haney, we reminisced about the Mud Hens.
I moved in time to be in New York for the Amazing Mets’ leap to the World Series.
Ten years ago I came home, to the Toledo Mud Hens. I don’t carry an autograph book, but I still go to Mud Hens games.