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Spunky Reds fan celebrates 58 consecutive Opening Day games

Mary Alice Gausman has become such good friends with former Reds players, they're like family
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Posted at 7:09 AM, Mar 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-30 15:47:44-04

CINCINNATI — Mary Alice Gausman is truly one of the Reds' biggest fans.

This year, she will attend her 58th consecutive Opening Day game.

"I'm living my dream," Gausman said. "I'm living a dream that I couldn't even dream."

Born into a coal miner's family in West Virginia, Gausman grew up listening to the Reds on the radio. Then, in 1960 at just 17-years-old, she took a train by herself to Cincinnati to see her first game.

"I remember going through the turnstile that you had to go through to get into the ballpark and I thought, I've never seen anything like this in my life and I'm never going to leave this."

Gausman said she bought a newspaper, flipped through the classifieds and found herself a job in the Queen City. For years, she spent her summers working and going to as many games as she could, but never made it to Opening Day. Then in 1966, her boss noticed her love for baseball, and let her take off for Opening Day. Since then, she's never looked back. And she's seen it all.

"I’ve sat in snow, froze to death,” Gausman said.

As a founding member of the Rosie Reds, a philanthropic and social organization focused on supporting the Cincinnati Reds, she's met some big names in Reds baseball, including former owner Marge Schott and Mr. Perfect.

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Mary and Marge Schott

She recalled meeting former Reds owner, Marge Schott.

“This blanket was Marge Schott’s blanket, she had that over her lap at every game,” Mary Alice said.

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Marge Schott gifted Mary Alice this blanket

“She gave it to me.”

Gausman said Tom Browning was one of her favorites.

"He is Mr. Perfect and he called me his perfect fan," she said. “Tommy Helms, when we see each other we just sit and talk and I just cannot believe I know them personally,” she said.

 And it would appear the players love her just as much.

 “George Foster is my best buddy,” she said.

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Mary and George Foster

Gausman shared stories with us about how Foster teases her. At just 4’7”, she’s a lot of spunk packed into a small frame.

“He comes in the room and says, 'where is she? I know she’s in here somewhere, y’all keep an eye out for her because she keeps getting lost,'” she laughed. “I said 'George, you’re forgetting one thing, I’m 6’4” on the inside and I can take you down at any minute.'”

Gausman volunteers at the Reds Hall of Fame Museum just outside Great American Ballpark. You can usually find her on the third floor telling stories about the old days and sharing quips about meeting her favorite players.

"I didn't think I'd ever get to see them play, let alone become their friends," she said.

Gausman's husband of 48 years, Tom, will not be witnessing her 58th Opening Day. In fact, he doesn't even like baseball.

“He’s not a fan, I keep saying, why did I marry you,” she laughed.

Instead, she's taking her adopted grandson to his very first game.

Gausman said she has little traditions for each game she attends. The game usually starts with a Chick-fil-A sandwich or a sub from Jimmy John’s right outside the ballpark.

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