WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) in Boston captured the heartwarming story of D’Youville resident Marie Mansfield Kelley and her friendship with Saab Residence employee Karen Reeney. Their story features a treasured heirloom, a favorite movie, a career in “A League of Their Own”, a chance encounter and the power of baseball.
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As a child, Karen Reeney fell in love with baseball while watching the film “A League of Their” Own. In fact, the All American Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was so meaningful to her that in 2002, her father, unbeknownst to her, waited in line for hours to get a signed baseball by one of the players of her favorite team, The Rockford Peaches. Just before he passed away, he gave that baseball to her. Today, Karen works at the Saab Residence at D’Youville Life & Wellness Community. On her very first day of D’Youville, the very first resident she met was Marie Mansfield Kelley.
A native of Jamaica Plain, and now an assisted living resident at the Saab Residence at D’Youville Life & Wellness Community in Lowell, MA, Marie Mansfield Kelley is a former professional baseball player. She was an outfielder and pitcher in in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. From 1950 through 1954, she played for The Rockford Peaches, including the 1950 league championship team, and was briefly with the Battle Creek Belles. With the nickname “Boston,” Marie just loved pitching. She had a 2-finger grip on the baseball and would “just throw the ball as fast as I could.”
The two women met and began to talk and, you guessed it, Karen’s most treasured heirloom was an autographed baseball, signed by none other than Marie Mansfield!
When the Boston Red Sox, heard about Marie, they invited her to throw the first pitch at the August 11th game. The occasion marked Marie’s first time back to the pitcher’s mound at Fenway Park since June 10, 1957. What an incredible honor for her to be back on the mound with her new friend Karen and her own family cheering her on. Marie is featured in the film “A League of Their Own” and baseball will always be in her heart.