October 1995 - Iron Woman

Okay, so Junior Ripken's got a bit of a streak going down in Baltimore. While Cal gets all the ink, the Iron Woman of Boston has a baseball streak that may be even more impressive.

Elizabeth Dooley is a Fenway fixture, having been a Red Sox season ticket holder since 1944. That's 16 years before Cal Ripken, Jr. was born. She has been to virtually every Boston home game in the last 51 years, as well as hundreds of road games. Count the number of games she missed on your fingers and toes, and those were only for events as serious as weddings and funerals. Check out this stat: Lib Dooley has attended almost 5,000 baseball games. What mortal could challenge that record?

Baseball is in her blood. Dooley's father was a mover 'n' shaker in the early days of Boston baseball. He founded the Winter League, a booster group similar to today's BoSox Club, and was instrumental in bringing Sunday games to blue-nosed Beantown. He apparently imparted a sense of loyalty and dedication, since she carries on the family tradition, in part by serving on the BoSox board of directors.

Dooley doesn't consider herself a fan, but rather "a friend of the Red Sox." More like family. She's developed close friendships with countless players over the years, most notably Ted Williams (who, she reports, is doing well). The Iron Woman is known, loved and respected by many other denizens of the ballpark, from the batboys (to whom she has been known to slip apples and other treats) to Sox CEO John Harrington.

Ms. Dooley approaches a ball game with a certain style and dignity. "Be on time, always stay to the end. Fans who leave don't understand." Ain't it the truth. Her good taste is reflected when she boasts, "I haven't had a hot dog in 30 years." She insists on focusing her attention on the game, which is easy to do from her front-row perch behind the Red Sox on deck circle, arguably the best seat in the house.

Make no mistake -- Dooley knows her baseball, and Dooley knows her players. Over 51 seasons, the play she singles out above all is "Carlton Fisk." Nuff said. Tony C's beaning rates a close second, and was a horror she will "never, never forget." When asked to choose her most memorable game, Dooley replies, "Well, a no hitter is hard to beat." Right again, Lib. She saw Allie Reynolds of the Yankees no-hit the Sox in The Bronx in 1951, and recalls details like Yogi dropping Teddy Ballgame's popup as if it happened yesterday.

With the heart of a crusader, Dooley is "very, very, very serious" about mounting a letter writing campaign to convince the Veterans Committee that Dom DiMaggio belongs in the hallowed Hall of Fame. Lib and her partisans intend to "besiege them until this wrong is rectified." According to Dooley, the Little Professor's stats are more than worthy for induction. Even if they weren't, she claims her dear friend could qualify on the basis of character alone.

The Iron Woman feels equally adamant about the qualifications of Jim Rice. "He's a first-class human being, a role model." Contrary to public perception, Dooley defends Jim Ed as not surly, but rather as "his own man." She likens him to a Reggie Jackson, but with a different, quieter style. "No shouting, just get the job done."

Dooley enjoys other Major League ballparks, but insists that Fenway is the park. She is firmly entrenched amongst the growing ranks pleading with the Red Sox to stay on Yawkey Way. While nostalgia is a factor, she has deep concerns about the politics involved in building a new ballpark.

Like all good Red Sox rooters, Dooley relishes Opening Day, consoling herself through the winter with thoughts of Fenway. "Patience till the Spring returns." And the streak continues.

©1995 - 2007 Douglas T. Dinsmoor


At March 10, 2007 at 6:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Thu Mar 30, 12:15:00 PM MST, Anonymous said...

Where and how did you find your information regarding this Lib Dooley?

At March 10, 2007 at 6:10 PM , Blogger Douglas T. Dinsmoor said...

At Sun Apr 02, 03:23:00 PM MDT, Douglas said...

Uh... I interviewed her. Wasn't that obvious from the piece?

She was also quite famous, and she's been written up numerous times, including several times in the Boston Globe.

Why do you ask?



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