For her 25th wedding anniversary in 1994, Lois Kerr didn’t want the traditional gift of silver. Instead, she asked her husband to make a special promise: usher her to every Hurricane baseball game on the road.
Kerr’s love of baseball started at five, when most girls her age were playing with dolls. The Miami native convinced her mother to take her to her first spring training game at age 11, to see her heroes up close.
“My love affair with baseball began with Mickey Mantle,” Kerr said.
It has continued with the Orange and Green. A season ticket holder since 1989 and team volunteer for over a decade, she always finds a spot right behind home plate.
“I yell at the umpires. I never curse at them, threaten them, or question parentage, but anything else is fair game,” said Kerr, 62. “Especially eyesight.”
She can get so vocal that her husband, a retired Coral Gables police officer who died in 2002, sometimes found a seat in another row. Kerr didn’t mind: Her eyes were on the diamond. But her zest caught the attention of the baseball team’s secretary, who in 1994 invited her to volunteer in the team office.
In 1994 Kerr founded the Diamond Darlings, a group of more than 100 volunteers with the single mission of promoting Hurricane baseball. Members promote upcoming games to students and make UM jewelry to raise funds to help support the baseball team’s budget.
During off days, Kerr is a staple at the Hurricane baseball office on campus.
“I always try to wear orange and green. Even when I have to dress up I’ll still manage to hide a ‘U’ somewhere, you just have to search harder for it,” she said, decked out in a bright orange and green crocheted beret and UM baseball jersey.
On her fingers: two official championship rings, gifts from Coach Jim Morris.
“They are the original rings and even have my name on them,” Kerr said. “I feel a part of the team.”
Morris said that the players are all impacted by Lois.
“Lois brings her heart and a total commitment to the program,” Morris said.
Secretary Marlen Perez wasn’t prepared for the chilly night when she first attended a Hurricane game. Luckily for her, she was watching the game with Kerr.
“She had UM blankets, UM gloves, UM sweaters, UM hats, all you can think of,” Perez said. “She is there through good and bad games. It comes from the heart.”
Though her husband was a UM alumnus, Kerr did not graduate from Miami. In 2005, Morris surprised Kerr by awarding her as an honorary alumna of UM.
“People have said to me that I am a great person, but I’m not,” Kerr said. “I’m just selfish. I get to do what I love to do and you could never pay me to do this.”
Jade A. Horner may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.