GULFPORT -- It was the ceremony that almost didn't happen.
Bob Barnes knew Carolyn Owen of Gulfport was going to be inducted into the Mississippi Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken League Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday -- it was he who wrote her letter of nomination.
He said Owen has operated the concession stand at Bayou View Sport Complex on Hewes Avenue for 35 years.
"She had a line about 40 deep at the concession stand right before we were going to make the presentation," Barnes said. "She didn't want to leave, but the city of Gulfport had declared Saturday Carolyn Owen Day -- I had to tell her a friend of hers was being honored, and she needed to get on that ball field."
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Once on the field, Owen, who is also a longtime board member at Bayou View Sports Complex where she runs the softball program, said she was "completely surprised" by the induction ceremony.
"Lord, I was totally excited," she said. "I had no idea it was going to happen."
Barnes said Owen has been involved in the softball side of things at Bayou View for many years, but her presence and dedication to the kids has also had a big impact on the baseball program, as well.
"The softball side is typically not associated with Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball," he said. "But she has been there for every game and through the concession stand, she has pretty much cooked every hamburger in that ballpark."
But, he said, Owen was inducted because of her love and dedication to the kids.
"She has been so good to all of their children at Bayou View," he said.
And after 35 years, Owen said she has no plans of walking away from Bayou View any time soon.
"I love the kids and the parents, but really I just love what I do," she said.