Mud Hens office manager celebrating 30 years on jobWritten by Jay Hathaway | | email@example.com
The ultimate career goal for many is being able to do something you love, get paid for it and keep that job for many years. Carol Hamilton is the epitome of that reality.
Hamilton is the office manager for the Toledo Mud Hens and the Toledo Walleye. For 30 years, she has been a vital part of the Mud Hens organization. Her career in Toledo baseball began when the team was still grinding out games at Ned Skeldon Stadium in Maumee.
“I was just basically hired as someone to assist filling out the Mud Hens season ticket envelopes,” Hamilton said. “Then I just stuck around and started doing more and more and more.”
Over the years she has handled the team’s payroll, performed a lot of secretarial work and answered many, many phone calls.
Hamilton, a polite and quiet yet amiable woman of small frame with a welcoming smile, was raised in Toledo as a Mud Hens fan. She recalled the Ned Skeldon years with fondness.
“It was a ballpark that needed a Band-Aid, but it was homey, and it served its purpose for a long time,” she said.
When the team moved to its current home at Fifth Third Field in 2002, many Toledo baseball fans rejoiced at the idea of a Mud Hens makeover. Hamilton was thoughtfully cautious in her initial response.
“I was skeptical, because [at first] I didn’t really care for the Downtown setting, but once we arrived down here, it was an incredible fit,” she said.
Hamilton said the most noticeable difference between the Skeldon years and the present is the number of people now on the office staff and working in the ballpark.
“When I started, it was just a handful of people, and now we have 58,” she said.
Hamilton described her daily responsibilities as a hodgepodge of getting done whatever needs done.
“I’m one of the first people in here to get the machines ready for the day’s work. I answer the phone, I do all of the ordering of office supplies,” she said.
Though the players seldom visit the offices, which are usually pretty low-key and don’t see much “craziness,” Hamilton said, she does recall an occasion when excitement levels rose and phone calls got a bit out of hand.
“When [professional golfer] Phil Mickelson tried out for the Mud Hens — that was probably the craziest time. People were calling as they got wind of it, and asked, ‘Is Phil Mickelson really trying out for the team?’”
Aside from the Mickelson incident, Hamilton said her career has been fairly tame. However, in 2009, she had a front-row seat for a major shift within the organization as well as in Toledo sports.
In 2007, Toledo Arena Sports, a subsidiary of the Mud Hens ballclub, purchased the rights to run hockey in Toledo, which was then the Toledo Storm. Two years later, with a new Downtown arena and a new mascot, the everyday operations of the Toledo Walleye fell in the laps of Hamilton and her Mud Hens coworkers.
“Before, we’d be taking a deep breath after baseball season and rest up, and [then] start focusing on the next season,” she said. “With the Walleye, it made it more of a year-round event. We had downtime with just baseball. Now when baseball ends, hockey is getting ready to start, so it’s just a complete circle.”
Hamilton’s work space at Fifth Third Field recently received a makeover. The reception area was reconstructed to resemble a hockey arena, complete with circles and blue lines on the floor. Hamilton’s desk sits behind what hockey fans would identify as “boards and glass,” just like the protective walls that enclose the ice. Hamilton jokingly referred to it as “the penalty box.”
As coworkers passed by, it was obvious they held her in high esteem —and that she is probably the last person one would expect to find in a penalty box. That fondness is reciprocated by Hamilton. She cites the people she works with as the aspect of her job she loves most.
“They keep me young. It’s a wonderful bunch, and it’s enjoyable to come to work and be with them,” Hamilton said. “Everybody is supportive of each other. It’s a great place.”