Goodbye, Mama Lucy

The loudest, most passionate voice in the Left Field Bleachers of Busch Stadium went quiet forever when Lucille Elson, better known to Cardinal Nation as Mama Lucy, passed away last night after a long battle with cancer.

To those that knew her well, Mama Lucy was a fun-loving and passionate friend with a no-nonsense personality and a welcoming smile. To anyone within earshot of Section 593, she was one of the most boisterous, passionate, and recognizable figures in the stands at St. Louis Cardinals home games.

Mama Lucy attended games armed with drinks and snacks, t-shirts she made that sported her “Left Field Bleacher Rules,” a scorecard, and a small radio headset for listening to the broadcast. Part of her time was spent shaking hands and chatting with passersby who knew or at least recognized her and part of her time was spent sharing the t-shirts with anyone who wanted one. But most of her time was spent riveted by the game in front of her, and her fan participation was equaled by no other.

Every time a Cardinals player came up to bat, Mama Lucy had an encouraging yell for him. And I’m talking a yell. The first time I heard it, I almost couldn’t believe this woman–or any human being–was capable of projecting the way she did. We were brand new season ticket holders and sat in the row behind Lucy, just a seat or two away. The reactions of the surrounding fans were mixed: some looked annoyed, some yelled along with her, most gave a little cheer or a smile. But everyone knew this was what Mama Lucy did. It had become part of the game experience. If a Cards’ hitter fouled off a two-strike pitch, she would chant (mimicking the BeeGee’s classic) “AH AH AH AH STAYIN’ ALIVE! STAYIN’ ALIVE!” and add an encouraging line at the end of the chorus based on the situation on the field (“TWO RBI’S! C’MON, ALBERT!”). When the visiting team got a runner on first, she willed the Cardinals into turning a double play: “SIX-FOUR-THREE! FOUR-SIX-THREE! FIVE-FOUR-THREE!” This went on for the entire game, but it wasn’t off-putting in any way. Mama Lucy made the Left Field Bleachers special. 

And it wasn’t just the game experience that endeared Mama Lucy to the bleacher creatures at Busch Stadium. Every winter, she would invite a large group of the friends she acquired through Cardinals games to her home for an offseason catch-up session complete with a feast and various Cards videos playing in the background. It was like a Baseball Thanksgiving in February.

I became a season ticket holder at Busch in 2008 because I love baseball and I thought it would be the easiest way to obtain a seat for the 2009 All Star Game. I stayed a season ticket holder because of people like Mama Lucy. She became part of my summer family–frankly, I saw these people as often as I see my parents (who live two blocks away)–and because of that, I couldn’t imagine sitting anywhere else for more than a game or two. Mama Lucy touched the lives of many in numerous ways, but none more visible than out in the Left Field Bleachers. She was a friend and is already missed. 

bleachers001.jpg

Mama Lucy, front and center with some of her LF Bleacher Family

 

Here are a few links I was able to dig up:

Mama Lucy got a mention in an article on the Cardinals’ website back in 2002.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted two pictures of Mama Lucy at the 2009 All Star Game.

P-D columnist and sports radio host Bernie Miklasz offered Mama Lucy get well wishes earlier this year.

–Chris

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Posted on May 11, 2011, in Baseball Dailies, Tributes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. aprilhendrix9@yahoo.com

    Chris~We sat by Mama Lucy in the old Busch, Section 595. She made the game fun and I loved cheering with her. I started bringing a water bottle to spray everyone down in the dog days because of Mama Lucy.

    When we moved to the new stadium, she moved to section 593 because her legs and knees couldn’t take walking all the way down front with us. (She was row 5 in old Busch). It changed the game for us with her not being down there but I’m glad that you guys got to experience games with her.

    She was a character, a former police woman and a die-hard Cardinal Fan.

    RIP Mama Lucy
    Scott & April Westerhold

  2. eabbett@sbcglobal.net

    Chris,
    Like April, we sat near Mama Lucy in the old Busch – right down the row from her, in fact. Over the years, she became a good friend – and her pre-season parties were the best!
    I’ve lost count of how many years worth of “left field bleachers rules” shirts I have in my closet. I think the only year I don’t have is last season.
    Thanks for your thoughtful words about the best Cardinals fan I’ve ever known!
    Lucy — may you rest in peace.
    Erica

  3. I met Lucy while i was visiting bush stadium. What an experience. On of my hobbies is visiting MLB parks and Lucy made this experience memorable. I wanted to purchase twoo of her t-shirts, but she only had one medium. She took my address and sent me one in the mail without me even paying her. she also attached a note saying I hope you had a great time in St. Louis. What a fan. Rest in peace Lucy and go cards.

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