Mass. baseball fan realizes she’s helping care for childhood idol
A baseball fan in Massachusetts got the surprise of her life when she realized her new job at an assisted living facility had her caring for her childhood idol.
They became fast friends and that friendship soon blossomed into a league of its own.
When Karen Reeney started her job at D'Youville Life and Wellness Community last year, the first resident she met was Marie Mansfield.
"The director introduced us and we were having conversation. And she said, ‘Oh, Marie was a baseball player back in the day.’ And I said, ‘As in League of Their Own baseball player?’” said Reeney.
“A League of Their Own” is Reeney’s favorite movie. She says she's watched the 1992 classic no less than 100 times.
It was a natural follow up question, but she didn't expect the response.
“She says, ‘As a matter of fact, yes!’” said Reeney.
From 1950 to 1954, Marie "Boston" Mansfield played as pitcher for the Rockford Peaches, the very team that inspired the film.
"Yeah, that's who I was, Marie Mansfield Kelley, Rockford Peaches,” said Mansfield.
"Right then, my thoughts went right back to my dad and the baseball that he gave me,” said Reeney.
The story gets even more incredible. Years ago, Reeney’s father waited hours in line to get an autograph for his daughter from a player on her favorite team.
That player was Marie Mansfield.
"To me, that was a message from my dad that, yeah you are in the right place, so it was quite the emotional moment,” said Reeney. “Twenty years you were hanging out with me and we had no idea.”
At 88, Mansfield's memory is starting to fade, but her pitch is as strong as her legacy. She's been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and this Sunday she'll throw the first pitch at Fenway Park.
The bond she now shares with Reeney Is one that can only be explained as fate.
“To come and meet her and (Mansfield) be the first person I met walking in here, it was amazing,” she said.