- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

The Lady Behind Home Plate

It’s been a tough few days for those who remind us of the glory of October 1986. Davey Johnson’s Washington team exited the playoffs ignominiously [1]. Darryl Strawberry’s Douglaston restaurant closed [2]. And Bo Field, a.k.a. the lady who rolled her arms in the seats right behind home plate, quite obviously driving Red Sox pitchers to distraction and doom, has passed away at the age of 84 [3].

A year ago, we put out an APB for Bo [4] on behalf of a friend who was looking to interview her in commemoration of our golden moment’s silver anniversary. We didn’t have much luck then, but in the wake of the sad news, we have been graced by a warm, personal remembrance, courtesy of New Jersey expatriate Kevin Cancessa, Jr., a Mets fan living in the next best place to around here, Port St. Lucie.

“I knew her before I knew who she really was,” Kevin told us with a touch of Berra-ism last night. “She was my waitress for many years at the Lyndhurst Diner in Jersey. Her real name was Barbara. Having known her for years, one night, she came into the diner decked in Mets regalia. It was at that moment, in 1996, that I realized I’d known the lady who twirled her arms to distract Bob Stanley.”

One would like to think the Mets voted her at least a quarter-share for her role in securing our last world championship, but probably not.

Bo behind the plate may have gained a measure of celebrity when her strategic twirling was picked up by the TV cameras as the spotlight shone its brightest on Shea, but Barbara from the diner was not a one-month wonder by any means. As Kevin notes, “She had those awesome seats from the first day Shea opened in 1964.” The seats got a little less primo in 1999 when the club installed a cushy high-roller section in front of them, but Bo remained a Shea Field Level staple for the rest of the stadium’s life and was spotted at Citi Field, too. Once a Mets fan, always a Mets fan, of course.

Sounds like Bo/Barbara served up a lot of happiness to quite a few people and derived a good bit of it from the passion she shared with so many. We should all be able to take at least that much to go in our respective lifetimes.