Ruth Turner, 92, tucked a fresh score book into her backpack and made her way from her apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to the 4 train bound for Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
She settled into her regular seat in Section 105 behind right field to watch the Yankees play the Mets last week.
Ms. Turner, who has been keeping score for 25 years, barely had to consult the scoreboard to jot the two teams’ lineups on her score sheet, along with batting averages, fielding positions and other information.
As the Yankees took their positions on the field, Ms. Turner settled into hers: marking the plays with her right hand and holding a Sony pocket radio to her ear with her left, for the game broadcast.
“Everyone knows her as the lady with the radio — she puts it right next to her ear,” said Lynn Knowles, who with her husband, George, sits in front of Ms. Turner. “She puts up with all the noise, and she tells drunk fans to shut up when she has to.”
Ms. Turner is not your average sports fan. She is a lecturer and theater buff, and a regular at opera and ballet performances at Lincoln Center. But her greatest love is sports, particularly baseball.
“For me, baseball is life and the rhythm of life,” said Ms. Turner, who sometimes attends a Yankees afternoon game before an evening at the Metropolitan Opera.
“I’ll sit in the Met and think, ‘Now, I wonder who else here was at Yankee Stadium earlier today,’” she said with a laugh.
Ms. Turner has a season ticket package for 40 Yankees’ home games, as well as a 20-game plan with the Mets for CitiField, which she calls “my dirty little secret.” Then there is her 25-game basketball plan with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Her habit of taking the subway, usually alone, to games has become more difficult this season. A year ago, she was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix that has spread throughout her body. It is relatively painless, she said, but is now untreatable.
“It’s about the nicest Stage 4 cancer anyone could have,” Ms. Turner said. “My doctor sees that I live quite a life, and he tells me to go on and enjoy it.”
So her schedule remains filled with lunch and dinner dates, and evening events.
“I’m out every night,” she said. “I have an insane calendar filled with activity.”
She remains upbeat, and discusses her medical condition openly with her many friends at the stadium.
“Every time I come to a game, Ruth says, ‘I’m still here,’” said Graceann Flaherty, of Brooklyn, a season-ticket holder who sits near Ms. Turner at Yankee Stadium.
Ms. Turner grew up in Manhattan and Westchester and attended Smith College, and then Yale where she earned a graduate degree in political science. As a copygirl in United Press International’s sports department, she began going to Yankees games and watched the likes of Joe DiMaggio, she said.
She raised four daughters and worked at Consumer Reports, where she also ran the office football pool.
After divorcing in 1990, she bought a Yankees season-tickets package and began keeping score, accumulating the old score books in a drawer in her apartment, which is tastefully furnished with fine art and two large posters of Reggie Jackson.
Ms. Turner met her second husband through a personal ad in The New York Review of Books and married him in 2000. He died in 2015.
“It was an ideal marriage — we both kept our own apartments and saw each other by appointment,” she said while holding court on an uptown 4 Train to the Mets-Yankees game, with nearly half the subway car in on the conversation.
The Mets jumped out to an early lead, and despite the raucous cheering and screaming around her, Ms. Turner calmly notated each play and listened to her radio.
She seemed only mildly amused when, Eric Capstick, a stadium cameraman, walked up and trained the camera on her, sending her image onto the stadium’s big screen.
She was less amused when Richard Goldfarb, a veteran beer vendor known as Cousin Brewski — his slogan is “Thanks for catching a buzz from the Cuz” — demanded a photo with her.
After the Mets squeaked out a victory, Ms. Turner joined the heavy crowds exiting the stadium and struggled up the subway stairs.
Ms. Turner said she has no clear prognosis for her cancer, but feels more tired and weakened each day. Walking a half- block leaves her momentarily out of breath.
But this is a woman who waits out many hours of rain delays and hardly ever leaves a game early.
“I’ve seen the Yankees come back from eight runs down,” she said. “You just don’t give up.”
Ms. Turner said she will continue to live as actively as possible and will remain the unofficial scorekeeper of Section 105 as long as she can.
She plans on attending the playoffs if the Yankees make the post season, but she has not yet renewed her ticket plan for next season.
“I don’t know how much longer I’m going to live or how this is going to end,” she said, adding that, as she inevitably begins reducing her activities, keeping score at Yankees games will remain a priority.
“It will be the last thing to go.”