The NBC World Series is celebrating 90 years this summer, and one woman greeted fans for more than half of those tournaments. Betty Abbott is a familiar face for fans, organizers and teams, as she spent more than four decades working and volunteering for the tournament in Wichita.
Abbott was inducted into the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame in 2009, one of three women to be a member of the NBC Hall of Fame, after a long career with the tournament and former Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, and many years of volunteering after that.
“I worked at the ballpark and the guys that worked at the ballpark ran [the NBC World Series] too, so whatever they said to do, I did,” Abbott said. “I just wanted to help whenever I could.”
Abbott is serious when she says she did whatever was needed. She vended chairback seats, packed umpire kits with fellow NBC Hall of Famer Dian Overaker, took tickets and a lot more. She started working at the stadium around 1958. At the time she also worked for the City of Wichita Parks Department, when she’d finish her day of work, there’s only one place she’d want to be.
“She was always there, everyone knew her,” said Brian Turner, NBC World Series director of community partnerships and former Wichita Wingnuts GM. “Fans looked for her when they came to the games, and when it came to the tournament you always heard people talking about Betty. Generations of fans.”
After Abbott retired from working at the stadium in 1994, she continued volunteering at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium and the NBC World Series. She would clean skyboxes and stadium offices, and she continued taking tickets and greeting fans. Abbott credits determination and a love for sports, baseball and meeting people for keeping her around the tournament for so many years.
“I loved being at the stadium and sharing my experiences with people and greeting them with a smile,” Abbott said.
In the more than six decades since Abbott started working with the NBC World Series, she’s made countless memories, but few compare to watching her son, David, as a bat boy during the tournament. Abbott says she loved her job, and above all, she loved sharing baseball with her family. She attended the tournament in 2023, and hopes to do so for the 90th anniversary of the NBC in 2024 as well.
February is National Girls & Women in Sports Month, and this month we are featuring a few of the women who have made an impact on the NBC World Series. Abbott is one of three women who has been inducted into the NBC World Series Hall of Fame, along with Melinda Rich and Dian Overaker.