Sixty years ago Tommy Gaston sat in a hospital bed, temporarily blinded from an accident at the machine warehouse where he worked. When he finally regained sight in his left eye (he permanently lost vision in the right), the first man he saw was Tom Gaston, his father. The second, standing at his bedside, was Turk Broda, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender. "That says everything about the Maple Leafs," says Gaston. "They've been loyal to me for a long time."
And vice versa. For 60 years Gaston, 84, has held Toronto season tickets. He's known many of the players and, of course, the ushers are his friends. On opening night of this season, his picture adorned every ticket. The ticket he really wants to see, though, is one for a Maple Leafs' Stanley Cup game.
The Sunshine Statement
When his young son, Trent, got tuckered out by the 90-minute drive from Palm Beach to Miami, Heat season-ticket holder (center court, first row, four seats) Lester Woerner bought a $650,000 bus and retrofitted it with beds. Woerner, whose holding company has a variety of investments, including one in a company that grows grass for stadiums, leaves the driving to Robert Brasher, whom he hired away from country music prodigy LeAnn Rimes. Trent does his homework on the way to the game and sleeps on the way back. "I told Trent he can keep going to weeknight games," says Dad, "as long as he keeps all his grades up."
Dodger Blue, Through and Through
In 1977 Betty Chatwood's youngest son, Todd, died in a car accident. Less than a week later she received a sympathy card, signed by every member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. "That's the way players were back then," she says. "They treated their fans with love and respect. Especially me." Chatwood, 76, who didn't miss a home game for more than 20 years, was known as Dodger Mom, the nickname outfielder Dusty Baker gave her after she baked him a pie. "I would bring sweets for all the guys," she says. "I loved the Dodgers." And they loved her. Baker was always ready with a hug, and Steve Yeager still keeps in touch. The ushers escorted Chatwood to aisle 11, row L, seat 3, her spot from the mid-'70s until 1998, when illness—as well as insane ticket prices—drove her away. "I still watch on TV," says Chatwood. "But they don't love me like they used to."