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Sports Travel and Tours
Couple Closes in on Visit to 30th Major League Stadium
Don and Laura Vickery will be inducted in the Sports Travel and Tours
Stadium Hall of Fame in May 2017
MASON, MICHIGAN—Thirty-eight years ago, Laura and Don Vickery drove through Detroit, into Toronto and to Boston, Massachusetts, on their honeymoon. They passed many major league ball parks, but back then, it never occurred to Laura Vickery to encourage her baseball-fan husband to stop and explore.
“I was young and would just say, ‘That’s nice,’” Laura says. “Baseball is such a big interest of his that I always regretted that.”
Sports Travel and Tours of Hatfield, Massachusetts, has helped Laura to reconcile this grief as the Vickerys have visited 29 of the 30 major league stadiums on the firm’s trips over the past seven years.
This summer, the two will visit the 30th major league stadium. Next May, they will be inducted into Sports Travel and Tours Stadium Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and they plan to celebrate surrounded by their children and grandchildren.
The Vickerys first trip with Sports Travel and Tours was in 2009, when the firm teamed up with an organization in Michigan to take baseball fans to Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.
“My original thought was, we’ll go on this trip, and, hopefully, we’ll find more men like Don who are walking encyclopedias of knowledge on baseball,” Laura says. “I thought, how could we go wrong?”
The trip turned out to be even more than Laura had expected.
“I thought all of the travelers would be men, but no, no, no,” she says. “There are always plenty of women and plenty of people through all walks of life. There are guys who are my husbands’ equal, but also people like me who are fans but don’t remember every statistic there is.
“I was so pleased to find a peer group,” Laura adds of her first trips with Sports Travel and Tours. “From the onset, we were not disappointed.”
Don and Laura initially visited five stadiums in 2009, and continued to travel consistently from 2011 to 2015, checking four or five stadiums off the list each year. Now, only one remains: Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.
To tackle the final stadium, Laura and Don are taking an independent trip to Seattle for a game between the Mariners and the White Sox on July 20, accompanied by Don’s cousin Jerry Brown and his wife, Joan.
“Because Don’s favorite team is the White Sox, we planned to see that game in particular,” Laura says. As part of their summer plans, the couple will room in a Seattle beach house before voyaging on to Vancouver.
A favorite sports travel memory for the couple was on a Sports Travel and Tours Oriole Park at Camden Yards trip. While eating dinner at Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, Don was accosted by none other than the announcer for the Baltimore Orioles to participate in the restaurant’s trivia challenge.
“In 1970, there were seven Baltimore Orioles players who made it to the All-Star team,” the announcer asked. “Name five of those players.”
As Laura sat in the audience with her camera at the ready, she couldn’t help but feel anxious. Her husband’s favorite team was the Chicago White Sox. How much, she wondered, could he know about the Orioles?
Turns out the question was easy for Don, who Laura describes as a walking plethora of knowledge about America’s great pastime. With ease, he rattled off five from the list of Mike Cuellar, Dave Johnson, Dave McNally, Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson, a feat which earned him an autographed photo of one of the Orioles.
To learn more about the Sports Travel and Tours Stadium Hall of Fame, call 800-662-4424.