Kathryn C. "Kay" Young

Devoted Oriole fan once caught a fly ball in her handbag

May 22, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Kathryn C. "Kay" Young, a longtime Orioles fan whose infatuation with the team began during her days in Indiana, died Sunday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of complications from a fall.

The Severna Park resident was 75.

"As far as I'm concerned, she's the team's No. 1 fan," said her husband of 57 years, Alan C. "Skip" Young, who retired from the Navy Medical Information System, where he was a project manager.

Kathryn C. Ward, who was the only child of an insurance executive and a registered nurse, was born and raised in Indianapolis.

She was a 1952 graduate of Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, studied accounting at Butler University and Towson University, and earned an associate's degree from Anne Arundel Community College.

Mrs. Young worked for several property management firms before retiring in 2005.

Second to her devotion to her family was her all-consuming love of baseball.

"You couldn't name a player or a team that she didn't know their stats," her husband said.

"She has been a baseball fan all of her life. Her dad began taking her to games when she was very young and taught her how to keep score. And when I was a kid, she gave me a model of an Oriole bird," said a son, Richard "Rick" Young of Ellicott City.

"Years later, when we were in Little League and later Senior League in the 1960s, she kept all of the stats for the whole league," her son said.

"Actually, she loved baseball at any level. She was at a grandson's game when she had her fall, and she was listening to the O's games in her hospital room right up until she died," her son said.

After moving from Indiana to Crofton in 1979 and then to Severna Park five years later, Mrs. Young was finally able to indulge her passion for the Orioles in person by becoming a season ticket holder, first at the old Memorial Stadium and later at Camden Yards.

"She had full-season tickets for two seats and later added a third one in Section 76 at Oriole Park, and for the last three or four years, she moved to Section 45," said her husband, who would accompany his wife to Sunday games.

Mrs. Young did not miss Opening Day and was in the stands for the 1993 All-Star game and when the team played the Cuban All-Stars six years later.

Her favorite Oriole players, family members said, were Cal Ripken Jr. and outfielder Brady Anderson.

"She had followed Cal ever since he was in high school," her husband said.

In 1996, Mrs. Young made an unexpected catch while sitting in her seat.

"What happened that day has now become part of our family lore. It happened during batting practice before the game," her son said.

"It was the year that Brady Anderson hit 50 homers. Kay was sitting with her friends who made up the 'Brady Bun Watchers' in left field," her husband said, with a laugh.

"She was turned around chatting and suddenly a ball came that Brady had hit and it landed in her open purse. Talk about someone who was happy. She was ecstatic," he said.

"It just plopped into her purse. Everyone around her was shocked and amazed," her son said.

Mrs. Young was also an enthusiastic Bowie Baysox, Colts, Ravens and Indianapolis 500 fan, and was known for her annual Indy 500 race picnic, which she held at her home.

"She'd cook knockwurst, hot dogs, hamburgers and have tons of potato salad," her son said. "She also flew a big Indy 500 flag in front of our house."

Mrs. Young was an avid collector of anything associated with the Orioles.

"We have Orioles memorabilia coming out of our ears," her husband said.

An Orioles-themed celebration of Mrs. Young's life will be held at 2 p.m. today at Meadowridge Memorial Park, 7250 Washington Blvd., in Elkridge.

"Kay will be buried wearing her Orioles shirt that has an emblem of Oriole Park, an orange turtleneck, an Orioles bracelet and baseball cap," her husband said. "She is totally dressed to go to a ball game."

Family members said that peanuts and Crackerjack will be served at the memorial gathering and that the family's pews will be decorated with Orioles bats.

"And remember," her son said, "'there's no crying in baseball.'"

Also surviving are four other sons, Thomas Christopher Young of Ellicott City, James Scott Young of Atlanta, Jay Alan Young of Indianapolis and Robert W. Young of Dallas; a daughter, Lynn Allison Heckman of Carmel, Ind.; 16 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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