SAN DIEGO — Kearny Mesa resident Ardie Hamry has gone to Padres games since before they even played in the Major Leagues. The 92-year-old friar fanatic has held season tickets for nearly 20 years and her loyalty has never wavered.
Born and raised in San Diego, Hamry recalls her first Padres game at Lane Field in 1936.
“You paid a dime to go clear down to the ball park but if you got out at the park it only paid a nickel,” said Hamry. “That’s where we dropped off and then we walked clear down to Lane Field, that was a hike, but we wanted to have some candy.”
Hamry followed the Pacific Coast League team when they moved to Westgate Park in 1958, nine years before becoming a Major League Baseball team.
“My husband he wasn’t quite the fanatic I was but he would go,” said Hamry. “We would take the kids to the games.”
Hamry and her late husband William raised their three daughters as baseball fans. Now, six grandchildren later, her family are friar fans through and through.
“It’s fascinating just because we have such a special relationship with the Padres,” said grandson Blake Taylor. “Her first game was at Lane Field. My mom and aunts’ first games were at Westgate Park. Mine, my sisters’ and cousins’ first games were at Jack Murphy Stadium and all the great grandkids’ and great great grandkids’ first games were at Petco so we have a really generational love affiliation with the Padres.”
The 1984 National League Championship Series with the Chicago Cubs and the Hall of Fame inductions of Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman are among her favorite memories.
“They were all pretty much moments for me because growing up, I never dreamed I would be able to do that,” said Hamry.
In her 80 years as a Padres fan, Hamry says there’s only two things left on her baseball bucket list: witnessing a Padres World Series win and getting the chance to meet Hall of Fame pitcher Hoffman.
“I think he’s got such a sweet family and he seems like a real good family man,” said Hamry.
She attends most home games where she can easily be spotted in section 309, with her white jersey featuring logos from every Major League team.
“If I would have had my choice, I would have put the Yankees on this cheek and the Dodgers on this cheek,” said Hamry.
“I can’t imagine baseball without grandma,” said Taylor. “She’s the biggest baseball fan I know.”
And quite arguably the most loyal.