A baseball life: One senior’s journey from champion to coach
Carolyn Fenner, a resident at Holiday Retirement’s Genesee Gardens, has loved baseball for as long as she can remember. And she’s always been more than a fan, having played baseball herself from a young age. As a small child, she played first base but eventually came to favor playing shortstop. In every capacity, her love of the game is a passion that she credits to her big brother and “best bud,” George. When they were young, if George was doing it, Carolyn wanted to do it too, and as it happened, George was a baseball fan.
Carolyn, George and their family are from Oscoda, Michigan, but they spent time during the early ‘50s living in Japan. And though they were living half a world away, the family had a chance to see the New York Yankees when they came to town. Carolyn still has the ticket stub to that particular event, but as memorable as it was, it takes second place on her list of baseball-related adventures in Japan. While there, Carolyn played baseball for the Sendai Padres — a team that she helped secure a championship for in 1955. Her contributions to that championship team remain cherished memories for Carolyn, who can sometimes be seen around the senior living community proudly wearing a Sendai Padres team hat that George recently had custom made for her.
Eventually, the family moved back to Oscoda, but Carolyn didn’t let the lack of a girl’s baseball team at Oscoda High School deter her from the game. Rather, she continued to play at every opportunity, constantly finding herself as the only female on the field during after school practices and games. Although Carolyn never played for a college team — she went on to work for General Motors instead of pursuing a degree — she stayed connected to her favorite sport as an adult, serving as a coach to many children in her neighborhood. These days, she gets her fix as part of Genesee Garden’s very own bean bag baseball league. And the word is that she’s quite a good player.
When she’s not on the field herself, Carolyn loves to watch the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees, though she confesses that her love of the game is such that she doesn’t have a single favorite team. She does, however, have a favorite piece of baseball memorabilia — or at least one that she doesn’t hesitate to call her most valuable: an autographed ball…that bears her mother’s signature. Wherever life and the world have taken her, baseball is still linked to another great love of Carolyn’s life: her family.