One of the most familiar faces in White Sox history belongs to a woman.
On International Women’s Day, I salute the legendary Nancy Faust.
Nancy entertained Sox fans as the Comiskey Park/New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field organist from 1970 to 2010.
When she was honored at Comiskey Park one time, Sox executive Howard Pizer called Nancy the “Babe Ruth of stadium organists.”
That is underselling Nancy.
There were other power hitters and other baseball superstars and other personalities who would transform their sports or the culture.
There will never be another Nancy Faust.
Aside from being an amazing musician (she literally could play complicated songs on demand), Nancy had a great ear for the game and the fans.
This is how she integrated “Na Na, Hey, Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” into Sox games. That riff has become a standard at events now. Last night, I heard it at a Marquette women’s basketball game.
Based on that alone, Nancy should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Not featured in an exhibit but honored with a plaque with an induction ceremony with a speech, which should be, of course, from behind an organ.
Nancy was more than an organist, though, to those she touched.
Her reputation as nice, kind, friendly, sincere and interested in you are all 100 percent true.
When you stopped by to see Nancy during a game and she was happy to see you, she was, in fact, happy to see you. There was nothing phony about her.
I should know because I worked with Nancy every day I was at Comiskey Park/New Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field from 1984 to 2010.
In addition to getting an inside look at her genius (the singing along I heard on headsets was great!), she became a great friend to our family. This happened hundreds of times over during her career, I am sure.
She was at our wedding, we exchange Christmas cards and emails and she is genuinely thrilled for all the great things that are happening in our lives. We exchanged emails on the day of our daughter’s wedding.
When she retired in 2010, she mentioned that coming to work at the Cell was not work but being part of a family.
The presence of Nancy Faust was a major reason why that was true.
The Sox have a long history of giving women opportunity.
Mary Shane was hired by Bill Veeck as the first female play-by-play broadcaster in 1976.
Christine O’Reilly-Riordan gave me my start with the Sox in 1984 and she is still with the organization as a vice-president. She gave my name to Liz Burke, who was running the scoreboard, and I was off and running.
Other managers I have come into contact include Nichole Manning and Amy Gullick Sheridan.
On gameday, the Sox scoreboard room features the likes of Laura Marran, Melanie Ramsey Murphy, Meghan Gleason-Vollmer, Jen McMahon, Bianca Alfreres, Lori Moreland, Kedonica Taylor, Kendra Dinkins and Pam Johnson all immersed in production.