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Dalton Gang rides through all 30 MLB stadiums

Wearing her “I Visited All 30 MLB Stadiums” T-shirt, Donna Dalton and daughter Angela display the many different souvenirs they’ve collected while visiting all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. (Jim Walker/The Ironton Tribune)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Great American Ballpark. Seen it.
Wrigley Field. Been there.
Fenway Park. Great experience.
And the list goes on and on for Donna Dalton and her daughter Angela who have run the gambit by visiting all 30 major league baseball stadium. In fact, they have been to all three stadiums Atlanta plus two visits each to Cleveland and Denver.
Donna Dalton said teams will give fans certificates and badges each time they visit a ballpark for the first time.
Both Donna and Angela were given T-shirts commemorating visiting all 30 stadiums. Donna’s final stadium to visit was Seattle in September of 2018. Angela completed her tour in Colorado, also in September of last year.
Donna Dalton lived in Ashland County and attended her first major league game at the old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.
She came to Lawrence County in 1972 and fell in love with the Cincinnati Reds during the Big Red Machine era.
“I got Johnny Bench fever,” she said. “I began going to games because of Johnny Bench and my husband (Alan) went.”
Angela remembers her first stadium. It was a visit to the Cincinnati Reds’ old Riverfront Stadium.
“We had four red seats. My brothers and I were fighting and he pushed me and I rolled down the steps,” said Angela with a grin.
The Daltons were a baseball family. Donna and Alan had five children and at one time they were all playing baseball. Brian was 14 years old, Jennifer 12, Angela 10, Timothy 9 and Anthony 7.
Donna and Alan Dalton went to Opening Day in Cincinnati in 1968 with friend Bob Heaberlin in 1968. Heaberlin — a native of South Point — was teaching in the Coal Grove school system.
“It was brutal cold,” said Donna. “After the game when we got to the car, (the engine) was running. We forgot to shut off the engine. We had to buy a (team) pennant to unlock the door.”
Donna remembers a trip to Atlanta in 1980. The Braves were struggling and attendance was extremely small.
“We got $15 plane tickets each way. They had some special deal,” said Donna. “Bob Heaberlin picked us up to take us to the game. There were very few people there, but all of them were Reds’ fans.”
On a visit to San Diego they viewed a huge No. 19 painted in the grass in right field honoring the great Tony Gwynn who had died from cancer.
Some other highlights were seeing Mark McGwire in 1998 during his single season record 70 home run year.
The biggest disappointment came on Sept. 10, 1985 when the Reds’ Pete Rose was one hit away from breaking Ty Cobb’s all-time. Rose went hitless and the next night he singled off San Diego’s Eric Show in the first inning for record hit 4,192.
“We got tickets for all five kids. It was our son Michael’s first game. It was disappointing. The next night (Rose) gets the hit and tears are rolling down my face. It was pretty frustrating,” said Donna.
Angela remembers her visit to Wrigley Field for a Chicago Cubs’ game. She sat in the outfield.
“It felt a little like a little league field,” Angela said.
Angela said she was not a fan of Toronto.
“It was another covered stadium. And I’m not a fan of Colorado, either,” she said.
The worst experience was in San Francisco, the least tolerant fans in baseball.
Donna was wearing a Cincinnati Reds’ shirt and the stadium security people told her to turn the shirt inside out.
“I sent them a complaint,” said Donna. “They sent a big box of souvenirs to appease me and it did somewhat. But my feeling for that stadium hasn’t changed.
“They charged $50 to park in San Francisco and Chicago. That turned me off. The people in San Francisco were so uppity.”
Donna Dalton said her two favorite ballparks are:
1. PNC Park in Pittsburgh. “We watched a game at night and it was beautiful.”
2. Baltimore’s Camden Yards. “You’re so close to the field. It’s an intimate setting.”
Another one of her least favorite stadiums was Milwaukee.
“I didn’t like it because it was black and all the metal.”
Angela Dalton listed her two favorite stadiums.
1. Boston’s Fenway Park. “It just made me warm inside.”
2. Dodger Stadium. “It was electric. It was so much fun.”
There was a little bad luck involved in the visit to Los Angeles. The day after the game they attended, Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw pitched a no-hitter. They had to sell their two tickets to that game in order to get four tickets to the game the day before.
They also missed San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter by two days.
“I didn’t think I needed warm clothing. It got a little chilly so I bought a Dodger hoodie for $40. They were $85 at other places. They were nice people,” said Angela.
The trip to Fenway Park in 2010 included the opportunity to hear the the playing of the song “Sweet Caroline” sung by Neil Diamond in the seventh inning that has become a tradition.
“We stood in line for an hour for tickets while Angela shopped,” said Donna. “The Red Sox played the Indians and there was a fight.”
“They fought twice,” said Angela.
But a surprise for Angela came at the end of the game.
“I was kidded by a stranger at the ballpark. At the end of the game a guy just kissed me,” said Angela.
They flew to Texas to watch Houston play the Rangers, then headed for Kansas City and St. Louis where they stopped for games.
A triple to Detroit was on the calendar in 2013. Because of its close proximity, they drove to the game.
“It was impressive to see the tiger out front. It’s huge,” said Donna. “It was the easiest stadium to get to.”
In the fall, the Daltons made trips to Philadelphia, Baltimore and to New York to see both the Yankees and Mets.
“The Texas trip was the only one planned. There rest were spur of the moment,” said Angela.
In 2016, they visited Chicago in early May to see the Cubs and White Sox. The experience wasn’t as good because of the cold weather.
They did attend Chris Sale bobblehead day and it seemed that every game they attended Todd Frazier was playing.
“When we got to Wrigley Field, we got tickets behind a pole out in right field. My sister complaining,” said Angela whose seat suddenly broke.
“The usher took us and gave us some different tickets and we were 20 rows behind the plate. The game lasted 13 innings,” said Donna.
The Daltons are continuing to attend games and going to the various stadiums.
And waiting for some team to build a new ballpark for them to add to their viewing collection.