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Behind The Plate: 101-Year-Old Cubs Fan Hopes This Is 'The Year'

(CBS) -- When Loretta Dolan attended her first Cubs game at Wrigley Field, a trip on the bus from her home was 7 cents.

"My mother-in-law first took me in the '40s," Dolan said. "We only went on Ladies' Night because the cost to get there was expensive."

Ever since that first time at the Friendly Confines, she was hooked.

"I was born August 19, 1914," she said. "I'm 101 and three months, and I'm still cheering for the Cubs."


She born the same year Wrigley Field was built and passed along her North Side allegiance to her five daughters, 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

"All my daughters are Cubs fans, my grandsons love the Cubs and even play baseball," Dolan said.

She was in her 30s when the team made its last appearance in the World Series but lost the championship. Now 70 years later, she thinks she won't have to wait too much longer.

"This is just a young team," Dolan said. "They want to win. Wouldn't it be something?"

BTP Gram 4
(Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Her son-in-law surprised her last week with a ticket to her first playoff game. She arrived at Game 3 of the National League Division Series in a limo.

"I was sitting in the second row," she said. "I felt like a celebrity."

The Cubs hit six home runs in the game.

"There was a big man in front of me who kept standing up, so I couldn't see most of them," she laughed. "I got home and I was thinking about the game. Then it took a long time before I fell asleep. I couldn't even go asleep because I was so excited."

BTP Gram 3
(Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Sitting at the kitchen table of her daughter's home in Villa Park, she dons her Cubs jersey that reads "Gram" with the number 100 on the back.

"We're going to have to get her another jersey with 101 on the back. We'll have to do that before Wednesday," her son-in-law Jack Sharkey laughed.

Dolan reads from her dozens of scorecard books she's saved over the course of 40 years.

"Here are the hits, one, two, three four," she said. "These are the pitches. I list all the names but I can follow the numbers better."

Dolan's been keeping score for decades.

"I've got a cabinet full of these books," Dolan said.

BTP Gram 1
(Credit: Lisa Fielding)

"She keeps score at every game," Sharkey said. "She's been keeping score since the days of Hank Sauer. People don't realize how tough it is to keep score. As my mother-in-law tells me many times, it keeps her mentally sharp. It's amazing to watch. When I say keep score, every pitch, ball, strike. Not many people, they don't know how to do E3, error on the first baseman, E6, error on the shortstop. She does all that."

Dolan says her favorite players are Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Randy Hundley, who attended her 100th birthday last year and visited her in her box seats last week. She even threw out the first pitch at a game when she was 90.

"I couldn't throw overhand so my grandsons helped me in the alley and they kept on throwing to me trying to get me to learn but when I got to the park, I asked them if I could throw it underhand," she laughed. "It was exciting."

BTP Gram 2
(Credit: Lisa Fielding)

Dolan may be one of the Cubs' oldest fans. She was born six years after the Cubs won their last World Series. She was in her 30s when they made their last appearance without a win. More than 70 years later, she's excited to be part of this experience. Sharkey is taking her back to Wrigley for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Mets on Wednesday.

"My grandson says I need to wear the same outfit, sit in the same seat, do nothing different because last time I as there they won," she said. "He's superstitious."

Dolan says going to the ballpark keeps her young.

Asked if she could have predicted that she would still be going to Cubs games at 101, Dolan responded, "Oh, no, no."

And at 101, she literally has waited more than a century for a World Series win. Sharkey says a championship in her lifetime takes on a whole new meaning.

"You want the Cubs to win, but we also want the Cubs to win for my mother-in-law," he said. "We'll all be in tears if that happens."

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