CHICAGO -- When Ginny Cooper was in eighth grade, she and her girl friends would ride the Skokie Swift to Cubs games at Wrigley Field. Cooper was a huge fan of the 1969 Cubs team and can recite the lineup now.
Now 59 and living in Columbus, Ohio, Cooper has never lost her love of the Cubs and was recognized on Monday as the team's honorary bat girl as part of Major League Baseball's Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness recognition at the ballpark. Her husband, Pete, nominated her for the honor, posting an essay on Facebook, "because I love her," he said.
Pete Cooper described his wife as an "ultimate Cubs fan." She's an 11-year survivor of breast cancer, and Pete wrote that she "faced her challenge with dignity, passion and an unsurpassed determination to beat it." He wrote that being the Cubs bat girl would be more than a dream come true, it would be "heaven on earth."
On Monday night, Cooper got to meet Hall of Famer Billy Williams as well as Cubs manager Joe Maddon and delivered the lineup card. She recalled coming to games with her father, who would always dress in a suit and hat for the occasion. How devoted is she? Her license plate reads: "4 Da Cubs."
The message the Coopers wanted to share is the importance of self exams. Ginny felt a lump in one of her breasts, and went for a mammogram, and the X-rays didn't show anything. But she was persistent, and they did find two tumors. She's now 11 years in remission.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.