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Top Red Sox fan to wear loyalty on ‘Today’

Lynne Smith showed some of her Red Sox memorabilia, including a Fenway mural in her bathroom. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/Globe staff

Lynne Smith wears her signature Fenway Park replica hat, featuring the landmark Citgo sign, to every major league park she visits — except Yankee Stadium.

Her only recognition of the team in the Bronx is a roll of Yankee logo toilet paper.

“It’s symbolic. We use it just to get a few laughs,’’ she said.

Otherwise, the bathroom at her Wellesley home is everything Fenway and Red Sox, with the decor including a Hood blimp light fixture, a life-size David Ortiz portrait on the back of the door, and a baseball replica glass sink supported by two bats.

Last September, Smith was honored by the Red Sox with its inaugural Lib Dooley Award, saluting the team’s most loyal fan.


A season-ticket holder for 22 years, Smith, 68, is scheduled to be featured Friday morning on NBC’s “Today’’ show. Earlier this month, a production crew spent five hours at her home getting a tour of Smith’s Red Sox-themed furnishings and attire, including the Fenway hat, customized shoes, and outfits like the colorful dress resembling a Christmas tree that she wore at the Fenway Christmas celebration.

“I had the idea for the hat for the 1999 All-Star game in Boston. My late friend, Teri Ramirez, sewed it to look like a miniature Fenway Park. We then put little helmets on the hat to represent all the major league teams,’’ recalled Smith.

“I’ve worn it ever since, and a few years ago I got the Citgo sign that actually lights up. I also wear a picture of the Red Sox starting pitcher on my right ear.’’

Smith and her husband, Gary, retired from his position as a senior vice president for the Houghton Mifflin publishing company, attend numerous fund-raising events, including those supporting the Red Sox Foundation and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund.

Their high bids have reaped a bonanza of Red Sox-related activities.


Their sons, Matt and Charley, were managers for a day in 1992 with then-skipper Joe Morgan, who let the youngsters walk to home plate for the exchange of lineup cards. A photo of Matt with Roger Clemens was distributed at his bar mitzvah, held at the park’s former 406 Club.

“Joe couldn’t have been nicer to the boys,’’ said Smith, who has also thrown out the first pitch at Fenway, kept score inside the Green Monster for three innings, and sat in the box seats of owner John Henry and then-general manager Theo Epstein in recognition of her support of the Red Sox Foundation.

Some of her other memorabilia includes a Ted Williams autographed baseball (they chatted at the ’99 All-Star game); a crystal-studded Ortiz bat she purchased at a Red Sox wives fashion show; a framed Johnny Pesky baseball card; and a guitar signed by the 2007 World Series championship team.

Smith purchased the guitar at a charity auction benefiting UNICEF, and brought the instrument to the Picnic in the Park at Fenway, where it was autographed by the players.

Along with her husband, Smith was among 100 Red Sox fans invited to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in December 2011. The group, symbolizing the then-upcoming 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, accompanied Smokey Robinson when he sang “Sweet Caroline” to honor Neil Diamond.

Gary and Lynne Smith met as third-graders and were classmates at Oak Park High in Michigan. She was a Detroit Tigers fan.

“I knew back then she loved to have fun and make people laugh when she dyed her hair green on St. Patrick’s Day, and did the same to her French poodles,’’ her husband recalled.


“Being a loyal Red Sox fan with all the outfits is just part of her persona. Every day is like Halloween to her, and if people stop and smile and comment on her outfit she’s happy.’’

The Smiths moved to the Boston area in 1971. After a time in Waltham, they moved to Wellesley in 1973. Their neighbors in Waltham included a WBZ-TV sports anchor at the time, Len Berman, and his wife, Jill, who remain close friends.

“Len worked at night so we used to go to Celtics games with Jill, and we’re still big Celtics fans,’’ said Smith.

“The woman who lived down the street, Donna Slaboden, was Red Sox manager Ralph Houk’s daughter. She had a day-care business and used to take our daughters, Allyson and Robyn, to games at Fenway,’’ she said.

“Sometimes Len would get us tickets and eventually we bought our first season tickets in 1991,’’ she said. Tickets “cost $9 then and we couldn’t give them away because the team had declined a bit.’’

After the birth of their two grandchildren, the Smiths expanded their season ticket total to four seats in Section 16 during the week and six in Section 15 on weekends. The cost is now $50 per seat.

They have been generous with their tickets.

A Wisconsin man wrote to the Smiths that his son was about to graduate high school and had dreamed of seeing a game at Fenway.


“Every year since 2005, the father, Tom Watson, and his son, Brian, have been our guests and we’ve struck up a great friendship,’’ said Smith, who attends more than 60 Red Sox games per year, including road trips.

The Smiths have been in attendance for both of Boston’s World Series clinchers in the past decade, 2004 in St. Louis, and 2007 in Denver. With their scheduled trip to the Ballpark in Texas this year, they will have visited 26 major league stadiums.

“I’m always asked to have my picture taken with other fans when I wear my Fenway hat,’’ said Smith. An unsuccessful candidate for governor of Red Sox Nation, she said she was “humbled and touched’’ when Ortiz presented her the Lib Dooley Award plaque.

“I met Lib a couple of times and our families were on the field together that day,’’ said Smith.

Her husband said that his wife “just teared up” when she was informed that she won the award. “She was very moved,” he said. “It was special to her.”

Dooley, who died in 2000, attended more than 4,000 consecutive games at Fenway from 1944 through 1998. She was the daughter of John S. Dooley, one of the founding members of the legendary Royal Rooters in the early 1900s.

“I like to smile and to make others smile and when people ask me if I have a summer home,’’ said Smith, “I tell them Boston. And when they say ‘Boston?’ I explain that my second home is Fenway Park.’’


Marvin Pave can be reached at marvinpave@rcn.com.