Barbara Podschun, of Winfield, didn’t purposely set out to visit almost every professional baseball stadium in the United States. It just sort of happened, she said. A trip to one city might include a detour to another city that hosts a Major League Baseball team, just to visit the ballpark. Before she knew it, Podschun had visited all of the professional baseball stadiums except the one in Cincinnati, Ohio, and this one is next on the list.
Her most recent trip was in summer 2019, when Podschun and two of her granddaughters visited the ballparks for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Marlins. Her granddaughters made a book of photos from that trip, which they gave to Podschun.
Podschun remembers a trip she and two friends took to Texas. While there, they learned the Rangers would be playing their last game in their former ballpark, and decided to go. After the game, Podschun said, Rangers star Nolan Ryan walked through the stands, talking to fans.
Podschun said her love of baseball started at a young age. She and her grandfather would listen to Chicago Cubs games on the radio, because that was the only team whose games they could get in O’Neill, Neb., where the family lived. Podschun said she always bet a nickel on the outcome of the game, which he grandfather always let her keep regardless of the final score.
“I was patient enough to listen with him, which he loved,” she said.
The first ballpark she ever visited in person was the one for the Kansas City Royals. Podschun said she also took a few summer bus tours to different team games, another way she was able to visit the ballparks. She also has a niece who worked in Boston, and would sometimes get tickets to Red Sox games if Podschun was coming to visit.
Podschun said she likes baseball because it’s a simple game. “One day it’s the pitcher’s game, the next day it’s the hitters,” she said.
Podschun has also collected a lot of baseball memorabilia over the years. In particular she has collected items featuring retired player Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers. She also has signed balls from Richie Ashburn, who grew up in Nebraska and was a friend of her brother, and from Ted Williams, the former Red Sox player and American League MVP in 1946 and 1949.
She also has a lot of items from the Kansas City Royals. Podschun’s brother-in-law is an electrician who wired the first electric scoreboard used by the Kansas City Royals.
When asked when she plans to visit Cincinnati, Podschun said she has a daughter who lives in St. Louis, Mo., and plans to make a visit to the last ballpark on her list if she ever gets back there.