Loretta Micele had begun working concessions for the Chicago White Sox in 1945, at the old Comiskey Park. She was still working in 2005, 60 years later, long after the White Sox had a new stadium. The Chisox were in the World Series that year, and before the first game, a shocked Loretta, then 85, was brought onto the field as the team saluted her long service to the team. She was told that a section of tables and seats next to the stand down the third base line where she sold and handed out hot dogs and Cokes would be named “Loretta’s Lounge” in her honor. Loretta was cheered by the full stadium ,a blew kisses to the crowd. It was a glorious day.
The grandmother of 25 and loyal White Sox fan and employee is gone now, but “Loretta’s Lounge” gives a little bit of immortality to her and, by extension, to the many anonymous workers who make baseball teams and every other organization thrive, if it is to thrive at all.
Did I say “gives”? No, the right term is “gave.” When the White Sox brought Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa out of retirement last year to manage the team, it renamed the area “LaRussa’s Lounge.”