Monday, March 8, 2010

A Truly Unusual Distinction

I caught a headline today about the death of the person who until this past weekend had been the oldest living American. Mary Josephine Ray died on Sunday in New Hampshire, and the author of the Reuters article about her death tried to put her longevity into perspective:
Ray...was born before Henry Ford built his first car or Marconi patented the radio...
Impressive, sure. But the article also mentioned that she was a tremendous fan of the Boston Red Sox. Now, I don't know, obviously, how old Mrs. Ray was when she adopted the Sox as her team. But given that she was born on May 17, 1895, Mary Josephine Ray was old enough to remember--really remember, with some clarity--all of the World Series titles the Red Sox have won, from the first in 1903 to the latest in 2007. (By the way, the 1903 World Series was the first World Series, period.)

I have to wonder whether Mrs. Ray, back in 1918 when she was in her 20s, thought the next championship for the Sox was right around the corner. Wow, did she have a long wait and a lot of decades of disappointment. But the 2004 team (I hope) brought her joy, and the 2007 team must have been the cherry on top of a big Red Sox sundae. It seems entirely possible that Mary Josephine Ray was the only confirmed Red Sox fan to have fully experienced all of the team's World Series titles. Now, that would be a unique distinction indeed.

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