This 88-year-old Royals fan, ‘Miss Frances,’ never misses a game at The K
They know Frances Ingemann well at Kauffman Stadium
The 88-year-old has held season tickets since 1985
She drives in alone from Lawrence, and she was at the game again Wednesday night
Frances Ingemann, 88, became a Royals season ticket holder in 1985, the year the club won it all.
“People told me at the time not to expect this every year,” said Ingemann, of Lawrence, still a season ticket holder.
Could this be the year they finally reclaim the crown?
If they do it at home, Ingemann promises to be there.
Section 133, fifth row up from the home dugout. She used to have friends who joined her, but some have passed on, others relocated and she now usually comes to The K by herself.
The ushers know her as “Miss Frances,” a fervent fan of slight build who declines their help when she ascends the steps.
She enjoys one beer every game, a Boulevard wheat.
And she knows her baseball.Wednesday night during the third inning, Ingemann pointed to starting pitcher Johnny Cueto’s statistics displayed above left field.
“Look at that balls-to-strikes ratio. Ten to 22. Pretty good,” she said.
She drives her Acura to each game, often through rush-hour traffic. For Game 2 of the World Series, she motored an hour and 10 minutes from home to the parking spot at Kauffman Stadium, where an attendant drove Ingemann to Gate D in a golf cart.
After the extra-inning Game 1, she didn’t arrive back home in Lawrence until 2 a.m.
Ingemann wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
“Baseball is so interesting, you never know what you’ll get,” she said. “Who would’ve predicted that Game 1 would begin with an inside-the-park home run? On the first pitch?”
Originally from New Jersey (many of her relatives are Mets fans), Ingemann began attending Royals games when a friend invited her in the late 1970s. She taught linguistics at the University of Kansas and enjoyed the thrill of all four home World Series games that first year she held season tickets.
She has sat in the same spot, on the aisle in a row of seven seats. The odd number of seats made it easier for her to secure single tickets in the early years.
“She’s a sweet woman,” said Fred Schwartz, a guest ambassador at The K who brings Ingemann from Gate D to Section 133.
“I’ll give her a ride when she lets me,” Schwartz said. “Sometimes she’ll say, ‘No, I can walk.’ ”
She arrives wearing a blue cap that reads “2010 Season Ticket Holder” and carrying a rain poncho and scarf in a tote bag. She used to load the bag down with a portable radio and binoculars but has learned to travel lighter.
Even so, Ingemann is no lightweight in her commitment to the game.
“The other night it started to rain, and the drizzle collected on her cap,” said Kim Halil of Raymore, who has been watching the postseason from a nearby seat. “I was a little concerned. But Miss Frances just gathered up her things and walked up the steps with everyone else, real calm.”
She shrugged at the suggestion the games may be her secret to longevity and good health.
“I can attribute my longevity to having good genes,” she said. “But the games do get me out of the house doing something I enjoy.”