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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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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. Darryl Strawberry’s Douglaston restaurant closed. 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.

A year ago, we put out an APB for Bo 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.

18 comments to The Lady Behind Home Plate

  • Farewell to a true blue and orange fan. Imagine someone behind the plate doing something she thinks might, in some cosmic way, help her team, rather than looking at the camera, talking on cell phone, and waving every other pitch? Long my her arms roll.

  • srt

    I remember her well, watching those Mets games from my youth. It got so I would actually look for her behind home plate during each home game. When she wasn’t sitting there twirling her arms I would actually wonder where she was that day.

    R.I.P. Mets Lady.

  • Patrick O'Hern

    Glad you were able to track her down Greg. Anyone notice
    the kid rolling his arms behind homeplate at the Reds game 5 9th inning futile rally?

    • Appreciated your help in the quest last year, Pat. And yes, did see some rolling arms in this postseason (though somebody should tell the kid in San Francisco not to do it when the Giants are in the field.)

  • Inside Pitcher

    RIP Bo :(

  • Vince Ruggiero

    RIP, B Field. She certainly was part of the Mets tapestry, along with other dearly departed such as Karl Ehrhardt ( the Sign Man) & Jane Jarvis (Shea Stadium organist).

  • Harvey Poris

    Another character to remember from the very early days was the radiologist, Dr. Principati I believe his name was, from the Polo Grounds, with his yellow pancho.

    • Patrick O'Hern

      And don’t forget Mettle the Mule! Sounds like we are getting a new character in the loud vendor that Keith,Gary and Ron referred to several times in September. Was anyone watching in September?

  • Adam

    My father and grandmother and I used to delight in seeing her behind home plate doing her thing watching Mets games throughout the 80s. Very sad news.
    Also sad how long gone an era it is when a waitress who was a true blue fan could afford to have season tickets behind home plate.

  • Dave

    She was such a part of Shea’s fabric and Mets fandom…and this article is an example of how FAFIF gets what’s important about being a Mets fan. Been to the Lyndhurst Diner myself many times (it’s on my avoid Route 3 and the Turnpike route to Jets games), I hope that maybe at some point Bo served me my peppers and eggs or Chicken Murphy.

  • Joe D.

    Hi Greg,

    I am embarrased to say that except for one time (which must have been the Met Lady) I do not recall noticing a fan doing her thing while watching the Met telecasts but that might be because we did not have Sports Network which broadcast many of the games during that time.

    However, she seems like a wonderful lady and I know she must be watching over her family at this heartbraking time and giving them comfort.

  • Shawn Butler

    I was lucky enough to call Bo Friend my friend.

    The first time I attended a game with Bo was on May 1, 1981. Rusty hit a two-run shot in the second, but the Mets fell to Ozzie Smith and the brown-and-mustard-uniformed Padres, 4-2.

    Bo didn’t forget me when baseball returned from the strike that summer. And she remembered me every year after that. I have a shoebox of ticket stubs and lifetime of memories to prove it.

    Her seats. Oh, those seats. Before Bo, I had never made it past the mezzanine. Now I had a better view than the on-deck batter.

    Bo would bring me pages and pages of press notes. She’d hand out gumballs designed like baseballs. The Mets logo dangled from each of her ears. Pete Flynn and Jimmy Plummer always made it a point to say hello to her. Future NBAer D.J. Strawberry would sit on her lap and eat ice cream out of a batting helmet.

    Long before her twirling arms made her a celebrity of sorts, I thought Bo possessed special powers. She seemed to will twin killings, shouting “DP! DP! DP!” loud enough to induce groundballs that ultimately went from Tavares to Flynn to Kingman.

    The anticipation of Bo coming to get me for a game blew away anything Santa could ever possibly generate. The ride over to Shea was as exciting as the game itself. Bo and her husband, Bob, whom she adored even more than the Mets, would pick up me and my friend in Rutherford and head on Route 17 North, Route 80 East, and the lower level of the GW – talking baseball and the Mets all the way. While on the Harlem River Drive, she taught us to hold our breath when we passed the other stadium in town. And as sure as Piazza always would come through in a big spot, she’d yell out “Big Shea! Big Shea!” once her home away from home came into view from the Grand Central.

    Bo treated each of her 81 games a year like it was her last, thriving off of the fact that anything was possible in baseball. “It’s not like watching the same John Wayne movie every time where you know the ending,” she’d say.

    After some games, we’d take the elevator up to the Diamond Club for burgers and fries. “Is that the actual ’69 World Series trophy, Bo?” She wouldn’t hesitate to stop Ralph Kiner or Bob Murphy mid-stride so I could meet them. One Friday night before an Old Timers Day, she asked Ed Charles if he would hit a home run for me. The Glider, taking a quick break from gliding adult beverages down his throat, lifted me over his head and said that not only would he hit a homer for me, but he would hit one off of Diamond Vision.

    For those scoring at home, Charles tapped back to the mound.

    If the Yankees were playing on our drive back to Jersey, she’d tune in their game and root against them just as hard as she’d root for the Mets. If they weren’t playing, she’d turn the dial to WNEW-AM and listen to the wonderful standards she first heard growing up in Tennessee.

    Bo never flinched when a foul ball came screaming at the fence before her. She sang each word to the “Star-Spangled Banner” and – when the Expos were in town – sang each word to “Oh, Canada.” And, oh, how she loved and lived to root, root, root for the home team.

    “Moooo-kie. Moooo-kie.”

    “Let’s go, Gary!”

    “Get tough, Teufel.”

    “Here we go Mets. Here we go.”

    “Go get ‘em, Doc!”

    “Hubie doobie do.”

    “Now, Foster. Now!”

    But my favorite was when she taunted Philadelphia’s Randy Ready all the way back to the dugout after he whiffed for the third time.

    “Randy wasn’t ready. Randy wasn’t ready. Randy wasn’t ready.”

    She’d cry after the last home game each year, and then immediately begin counting down the days to the next home opener.

    Today feels like all 50 season finales rolled into one.

    You see, I was lucky enough to call Bo Field my friend.

  • Lenny65

    Very sad news. RIP, Mets Lady, you will be missed.

  • Brian Erickson

    Words are not enough to describe how sad I am about the passing of Bo. I, too, was also lucky enough to call Bo my friend.

    As a Yankee fan through and through, I root against the Mets as much as Bo rooted for the Mets. She never held that against me. I respected that. My first trip, and every trip after, to a Met game with Bo and Shawn from Rutherford was always the same route. Route 17 North to Route 80 East always the lower level of the GWB Harlem River Drive, when we drove past the greatest stadium not a word was spoken, then the Grand Central to Shea. The entire trip to Shea she would offer toll money, enthusiastic conversation about her beloved team and years of wisdom.

    She never made mention that I was a Yankee fan but I always rooted for the Mets when I sat in her seats, which was often. I rooted for the Mets those days not because they were her seats but because of her unmatched passion for an organization that was her family. Heck, it is part of her DNA. How could I be in opposition of pure excitement and energy. That kind of passion can’t be bought. She inspired me to be a better baseball fan, friend and person.

    I was lucky to call Bo my friend.

  • Stavros

    Very sad. Can anyone point to a film clip of Bo in action? A quick youtube search turns up nothing. RIP.