Well now, here’s a story that will have you reaching for your hankies. Hattie Gubel, a lifetime Phillies fan who lived to the ripe old age of 96, passed away last Thursday. And The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that Gubel will be laid to rest today wearing her favorite team’s gear.
As she's laid to rest today, 96-year-old Hattie Gubel's final outfit will be her favorite - a Phillies cap and T-shirt…
A baseball from one of the last games she went to will be placed by her side and mourners who attend her funeral are required to wear Phillies hats.
Gubel, of course, isn’t the first fan to plan her death around her favorite team. No one will forget James Henry Smith, the Steelers fan who asked to be posed in a recliner watching the Steelers at his own wake. I think it’s always worth noting when a lifelong fan of a team passes away -- far more noteworthy than when a former player or coach for your favorite team passes away. Players and coaches are transient. The average player is only going to stay with your team for maybe a few years. Ditto the manager. They go to other teams. They pass through. As Will Leitch has noted, fans have a much longer, much deeper relationship with their team.
Gubel was a Phillies fan for decades, so much so that the team became part of her very identity, her very soul. And that kind of love and devotion is worth celebrating; worth admiring. She loved her Phillies as a child and never stopped until the day she died, perhaps beyond.
So pay your respects to Hattie Gubel tomorrow night when the Phillies take on the Mets. The old girl set the bar pretty high for fan devotion.