JUPITER, Fla. — “Whoosh!” Jennifer Wells says, mimicking the sound her fastest fastball would make as we played catch earlier this summer.
Baseball has always been a passion for Wells, who now lives in North Palm Beach.
“The pitcher’s mound is 10 feet higher than the batter’s box,” she reminds me. “It used to be 15 feet higher.”
She grew up in Cleveland.
“I was the biggest Indians fan,” she says, proudly wearing an Indians ALCS Championship shirt.
This story is 53 years in the making.
In 1966, when she was 12 years old, she was riding her bike to an Indians vs. White Sox game. She earned the tickets, as she had before, after her acing her report card and writing to the local paper.
“I don’t remember anything about the day,” she told us in 2018.
She was hit by a train. Her body broken. Her spirit strong.
Last year, she showed up with her original tickets from ’66.
“(The security guard) said 'old tickets?’ And I said, 'yeah.' He said, go to the box office,” she said.
The Indians honored them.
“There were so many Cleveland Indian fans there!” she exclaimed.
The story gets even better. This is why we are playing catch.
“I joined fit body boot camp just so I could get ready for this day,” she said as we wrapped up our game of catch outside of Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter to head inside.
Weekly, she catches a game with her husband here. On Wednesday, she’ll be back in Cleveland for an Indians-Red Sox. This time, on the pitcher’s mound.
“Nobody takes old tickets and sees a baseball game and throws out the first pitch,” she said, grinning
Cheering her first pitch on more than 30 family and friends, including nine friends from middle school, that knew her when she was hit by the train.
She reminds us what an old friend recently told her.
“That’s the best use of old tickets he’s ever seen,” she said. “I said boy, that’s right.”