Sixty years with the Sox

WORLD SERIES: 85-year-old concessions worker still going strong
2005-10-25T00:00:00Z Sixty years with the SoxLAURI HARVEY
lharvey@nwitimes.com
219.662.5339
nwitimes.com
October 25, 2005 12:00 am  • 

When Loretta Micele was hired to work concessions at the old Comiskey Park, Luke Appling was the shortstop.

It was 1945 and the Sox finished in sixth place out of the eight American League teams. On the North Side, the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the World Series, where the best seats in the house cost a whopping $7.20.

On Saturday -- the first day of the 2005 World Series -- Micele reported to work her stand at U.S. Cellular Field the same way she has for the last 60 years.

"I like to work," the 85-year-old Bridgeport woman said. "I don't like to sit around the house."

Last year, in honor of her 60th year with the team, the White Sox surprised Micele with an invitation to go on the field before a game.

It was then she learned the organization was naming the seating area next to her concession stand down the third base line, "Loretta's Lounge."

"I'd like to have died when I saw it," she said. "They had me on the field, and I waved and blew kisses to everyone."

Micele said she doesn't really remember much about the teams over the years, but knows she was working during the 1959 World Series and that she hated seeing Old Comiskey fall to the wrecking ball.

"I cried and cried," she said. "I really thought they could have built that old one up."

The mother of two and grandmother to 25 said she has come to know many of the fans during the years and has seen them grow from little guys to grown men who bring their own children to the park.

"I love them all," Micele said of the fans. "They all call me 'Gramma.'"

Her favorite current player is Frank Thomas, although she has never met him or any of the players who've joined the roster at the new park.

"In the old park, you could meet them because we came in around the same place, but now everyone's all separate," she said.

Working at the ballpark isn't enough action for Micele. She also works the concessions stand at the United Center for the Bulls and Blackhawks games, as does her daughter, Marie Johnson. Next year, Micele will celebrate her 60th year working concessions at the old Chicago Stadium and now the United Center.

"I used to wait on (Blackhawk's owner) Bill Wirtz's father (Art, former Hawk's owner)," she said.

When she's not at work, Micele says she likes to gamble at the boats in Joliet, and she makes a trip to Las Vegas once a year.

The lifelong Bridgeport resident lives just a few blocks from U.S. Cellular Field on 31st Street and says she's pulling for her White Sox to win it all this year.

"Please say a prayer for the White Sox and remember to come by the park and say hi to Gramma," she said.

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