Campus Uncommons: Nancy Midgette
A member of Elon’s faculty for almost 30 years, the professor of history is passionate about her job. But if there’s anything she loves doing as much as teaching, it’s being a devoted fan of America’s pastime.
By Philip Jones
Nancy Midgette is a historian, so it’s only natural she remembers where it all started: Pittsburgh.
The “when” is a little tougher to pinpoint, but it was sometime in the early 1950s as she sat in an easy chair with her grandfather and listened to radio broadcasts of Pirates games. That’s how she got hooked on baseball.
A member of Elon’s faculty for almost 30 years, the professor of history is passionate about her job. But if there’s anything she loves doing as much as teaching, it’s being a devoted fan of America’s pastime and an avid baseball card collector.
“You can’t make a life only out of what you do for a living,” Midgette says. So in addition to shaping generations of Elon students, she’s made a lifetime of baseball memories. The fondest one? Being in Yankee Stadium to see Roger Maris hit a homer late in 1961, the season he became Major League Baseball’s home run king.
That personal, sentimental connection to baseball history is what makes Maris’ No. 1 Topps card from 1962, her favorite out of the thousands that she’s collected. Never mind the fact that card is also worth a pretty penny these days—that’s never been the point for Midgette. More than anything, collecting baseball cards has been about building a connection to teams and players that mean something to her, and the fun of trading with other collectors.
Her love of the game isn’t just tied to the big leagues, either. She spends her summers in the North Carolina mountains, where she routinely watches the Class A Asheville Tourists play in what she describes as the nation’s oldest continuously-operating minor league baseball park. Only a historian would know that tidbit.
And like she does every year, she’ll pick a team and wear its T-shirt in class when MLB’s Opening Day rolls around next spring.
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