Pearl Sandow, a native of Canton, was Georgia’s most devoted baseball fan and one of the most dedicated fans in the history of the sport. Beginning in 1934, Sandow attended every professional baseball game played in Atlanta, except one, for the next fifty-five years. She first supported the Atlanta Crackers, who played at Ponce de Leon Ballpark. In 1966 Sandow transferred her loyalty to the Atlanta Braves. She saw more than 1,850 Crackers games, and she attended 1,889 Braves games—every Braves home contest from 1966 through 1989.
Baseball was a lifelong passion for Sandow, whose mother took her to games as an infant. In 1934 Sandow started attending Crackers games regularly. She missed only one game in 1961, her first in more than twenty years, when her mother had a stroke. Sandow did not miss another Atlanta baseball game until she broke both shoulders in an accident in 1990. Afterward, Sandow was unable to go to the stadium, so she followed the Braves on television and radio.
Sandow, who worked for thirty-three years as a department head in the federal government’s housing program, organized her life around baseball. During the season she left her job and headed straight to the ballpark. Working for a living, Sandow claimed, interfered with baseball. She rarely missed batting practice and for twenty-one consecutive years went to spring training; she also attended the World Series numerous times and accumulated an extensive collection of Atlanta baseball memorabilia.
Players, fans, and even former Braves owner Bill Bartholomay thought Sandow brought the team good luck. She was usually the first fan to arrive for a game, sitting in seat 1, row 9, section 105, behind the home dugout. Everyone easily recognized Sandow by her shock of white hair stacked high in what she called a snow-cone style.
In 1975 the Braves rewarded Sandow with a lifetime pass, a watch, and a night in her honor at the stadium. On May 12, 2002, the Braves brought her to Turner Field (later Center Parc Stadium) for the first time to celebrate her 100th birthday, making her team captain for the day. Sandow’s highest recognition came in 1989, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, enshrined her in its fans section. There a statue honors Sandow’s devotion to one of America’s most popular pastimes.
Sandow died in Canton on April 17, 2006.