Short Stops

Surprising Hilda

Hilda Chester, who brought her famous cowbell to Ebbets Field and shouted out the players, is a legend. A sign was created that said, “Hilda Is Here!” so there was no doubt that the leather-lunged Dodger fan was present.

Photo by Barney Stein

The famous leather-lunged Hilda Chester was one of the Dodgers’ staunchest supporters in Brooklyn. She hollered at the players and once even shouted at broadcaster Vin Scully in the radio booth, telling him to “look up when I’m talking to you.” Chester was renowned for her twin cowbells, which she would ring incessantly to rally the Dodgers.

In 1953, Chester had dyed her hair a flaming red color. On May 10 of that year, the Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0, on Mothers’ Day moving into first place with a 14-7 record. Billy Loes pitched his only shutout of the season and catcher Roy Campanella drove in all five runs, belting his 10th home run of the season and a double, prompting a happy Walter O’Malley to call a florist during the game to immediately deliver a huge bouquet of flowers to Chester in a box near the Phillies’ dugout.

The card to her signed by O’Malley read: “To Brooklyn’s newest redheaded mother.” Chester was outside Ebbets Field showing her flowers to many fans long after the game had ended.

“Now wasn’t that the nicest thing for Mr. O’Malley to do,” said a teary-eyed Chester.