Susan Rich, the first woman vendor at Shea Stadium in the 1970s, recently was saluted by the New York Mets.
Rich, a 50-year-old accountant from Stamford, Connecticut, was able to step onto the new Citi Field during batting practice and enjoyed seats near home plate for a Florida Marlins game June 5, the New York Daily News reported. She also received a scoreboard salute. Rich must have enjoyed the 6-1 win, but her husband, who also attended, is a diehard Yankees fan.
David Rich was responsible for the tribute, as he wrote a letter to Mets owner Fred Wilpon, proposing that the team honor his wife, who was the first woman to work as a food vendor at Shea Stadium. Her run lasted from 1974 to 1982.
With her husband being a Yankees fan, tensions arose. He said, "It was like the freakin' Cold War during the Subway Series in 2000," he said, referring to the World Series that pitted the Yankees versus the Mets. "Every time the doorbell rang, I thought it was someone with divorce papers."
The team planned to surprise Rich's wife with the salute, but her teenage daughter, Jennifer, spilled the beans accidentally. Shea Stadium has been demolished, but Rich recalled her work there for the New York Daily News. She told the newspaper about a foul ball landing in her ice cream bin, the many battles between the Mets and Yankees, and even selling rosary beads when Pope John Paul II visited Shea in 1979.
"You really had to be persistent, and you didn't mind sweating because it was a sweaty job," she said. "You didn't mind getting yucky."