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Tigers fan goes extra innings to give babies a warm start

Tigers fan goes extra innings to give babies a warm start
GOWEN -- Wanda Meyer averages one hat per game.

Baby hat per Detroit Tigers Baseball game, that is.

In all, the Gowen resident has knitted about 1,200 baby hats and another 100 baby blankets in her seat at Detroit's Comerica Park since she first started doing so eight years ago. The items go to infants at not only Greenville's Spectrum Health United Hospital but also Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey -- Meyer's hometown -- a foster child program in Florida and Project Linus in Maine.

"I say a prayer for each baby who receives a hat, that they have a happy, healthy life," Meyer said. "I get up every morning and say, 'What can I do to help someone today?'"

Wanda, 64, and John Meyer, 65, are Petoskey natives who moved to the Greenville area in 1967.

They attended Petoskey High School and Central Michigan University together and were married in 1965.

Wanda is a retired reading teacher at Greenville's Lincoln Heights Elementary School and John Meyer is a retired principal at Baldwin Heights Elementary School here. They have a son, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Wanda took up knitting and sewing at a young age, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. Wanda's mother-in-law, Hazel Meyer, also was an avid knitter who died with her knitting materials in her lap in 1999.

It was then Wanda was inspired to take over for her mother-in-law, who had been knitting baby hats for the Petoskey hospital.

While Wanda Meyer usually knits with whatever color yarn she is given or has on hand, she also takes special requests.

Wanda once knitted purple-and-gold baby hats and orange-and-black baby hats for the Greenville and Belding high school football teams, respectively, per a Greenville nurse's suggestion.

"We can't pass a fabric store without stopping," John laughed.

"I like to use wooden needles," Wanda said of her knitting preferences. "I just like the feel of them. I use double point needles so I use four (points) at a time."

The couple's daughter-in-law, Carol Meyer is a trooper with the Michigan State Police Rockford post and carries Wanda's blankets in her vehicle to give to children who are afraid.

Longtime Tiger fan

Wanda rarely sees her knitted hats placed on infants at area hospitals, but she gets great satisfaction from knowing her hobby helps small ones all over the country.

"One time when I went to deliver the hats in Greenville they wheeled a baby out of the nursery and he was wearing one of my hats," Wanda said with a proud smile.

The Meyers are devout Detroit Tigers fans. Witness the following:

They have season tickets -- box seats behind the Tigers' third-base dugout at Comerica Park.

Furthermore, they winter in Lakeland, Fla., and faithfully attend every Tigers spring training game there.

The couple also never miss a televised game at their Horseshoe Lake home during the summer.

Wanda Meyer spends every spring training game knitting in her box seat as well as while watching all the televised games at home.

The Meyers' favorite players are Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, Placido Polanco and Marcus Thames. They attend a Detroit Tigers party every St. Patrick's Day in Lakeland, where they once met Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell.

The couple also own box seats from the original Tiger Stadium. They sit in them outside their home and watch the sunset over the lake on their back deck, with a Tigers flag hanging just beneath an American flag over the water.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 29, 2008

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