True-blue Dodgers fan still going strong

September 24, 2008|T.J. SIMERS

Frank & Jamie McCourt like to talk about Dodgers fans like they really know them, and yet they've never met Mrs. Williams, as corny as it is, the heart and soul of what the Dodgers experience is all about.

Her legal name is Margaret Williams, but out of respect for the woman of stirring conviction, as you will learn here, most folks call her Miss Williams or Mrs. Williams.

The woman has been coming to Dodgers games since the stadium opened, 33 years with her husband before he died, "and I was the happiest person in the world," she says, her L.A. baseball cap sitting a little cockeyed on her head.

"I had a good husband. I'd never be able to find a man who could match up to him."

Arthur Williams passed away 23 years ago, and while it wasn't quite the same, "sometimes I cried and sometimes I smiled," her interest in the Dodgers continued.

Tuesday night the Dodgers season-ticket holder was surrounded by three young people for dinner in the Stadium Club, because "old men are only good for passing notes to young men," she says, "and when you're with old people and they get up, they've got to tell you, 'Oh, my knee hurts,' and this problem and that problem."

Now I'd like to tell you how old Mrs. Williams is, "but any woman who tells you her age, will tell you anything," she says.

A Dodgers fan for life, a trip recently to Arizona to be with the team, and yet all those losses the last 20 years, and here she is sitting in a wheelchair and pumping her right hand into the air when Nomar Garciaparra hits a first-inning home run.

"That's my guy," she says, while careful not to raise her left hand, which was broken in a recent fall that also resulted in a broken hip. "Try and put a pair of pantyhose on with one hand."

Now how old did you say you were, Mrs. Williams?

"Just because I'm old, I'm not forgetful," she says. "Go ahead and try and trick me, but I'm not saying."

The woman is still teaching adult classes on how to make clothes and quilts. She's wearing an outfit she made herself. She taught her husband how to make his own clothes.

She was teacher of the year for the Los Angeles Unified School District a few decades back, and one of the founders of Project Jordan, which financially assists youngsters who have advanced from Jordan High in Watts to college.

"We send $100 checks to kids every month and they must write a letter telling us they received the check," she says. "No letter, no check the next month."

Married for 33 years, a Dodgers fan for life, and so no surprise Mrs. Williams' Jordan Project has been sending money to kids for 45 years.

"The Times did a story on the Jordan Project in 1968 and a man from Pacific Palisades read it, wanted to talk to me, he did and I came away with a $500 check," she says, and if you met her, you'd understand.

"He sent $500 every year after that, increasing it to $1,500 the past eight or nine years until his death about three months ago. The money is very nice, but we need more adults out there teaching our youngsters to behave, to save and treat other people better. There's a serious lack of adults willing to do that."

It sure would be nice if Frank & Jamie McCourt stepped forward to fill those vacant $1,500 shoes.

"I think [McCourt] is a cheapskate," Mrs. Williams says, and so much for that. "He's got this bus running from Union Station to the ballpark and taxpayers are paying for it, and that's a darn shame."

A few years back she took issue with the Dodgers' demand that she buy World Series tickets if she wanted to purchase playoff tickets.

"They said I had to pay $141 for a World Series ticket, and they came in sheets of three. I can't afford that," she says.

She fired off a registered letter to McCourt, telling him she was checking with Major League Baseball about the Dodgers' policy, the next day getting a phone call from the Dodgers advising her she didn't have to buy the World Series tickets.

"I guess I scared the hell out of him," she says. "I'm sure they had no problem selling the tickets to people with money."

Feisty and sassy doesn't even begin to describe the woman in the chair, who loves her Dodgers. "You can't give up when things go badly. Do you give up every time you run into a problem?"

She met Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Bill Russell. "Russell didn't move me," she says. "My favorite Dodger is Dusty Baker."

Her Dodgers highlight, and this is a woman who has missed very few games here in five decades, "was the perfect game Sandy Koufax pitched. He just had us sitting on pins and needles."

Ask about Joe Torre, and she says, "I think he's going to make it." Ask whether McCourt should do whatever it takes to bring Manny Ramirez back, and she says, "he'd be a fool if he didn't."

But what about the way Ramirez acts sometimes, the hair and all that? "I do my thing," she says. "You do your thing, and Manny does his thing."

Manny & Co. are now two more wins and an Arizona loss away from celebrating here Thursday, Mrs. Williams sitting where she always sits, ready to throw up her right hand in joy.

"Let's hope so," she says, while extending her knuckles for the baseball-style handshake. "If not, I'll love them just the same."


T.J. Simers can be reached at To read previous columns by Simers, go to

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