Two things were important to Sister Frances Evans, her religion and baseball. If you’ve been to a game, she’s been there with you, beating her drum. She didn’t play for the team and was never employed by the franchise, but Sister Frances worked for the team in other ways.
“Baseball people are great people, is what she would say a lot,” said her friend, Paul Bernardy.
She began attending games when the franchise came to Arlington in 1972, and never really stopped. She was the first fan to enter the Ballpark in Arlington when it opened in 1994, and she threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Rangers Wild Card game in 2012.
Even as she aged, she almost never missed a game. Paul Bernardy drove her to daily mass at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Fort Worth, and accompanied Sister Frances in her second sanctuary.
“People would come up to you all the time. They'd talk to her and tell her how much they loved her beating the drum and bring there. Could they take their picture with her?” said Bernardy.
Few knew her the way former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer did.
“Her life was just full of joy and goodness and touching other people and trying to help them and she loved baseball. There's never been a fan bigger than Sister Frances,” he said.
He can't talk about Sister Frances without mentioning her ballpark buddy Sister Maggie Hession The pair traveled with the team to their first ever postseason game at Yankee Stadium in 1996. Sister Frances went to St. Patrick's Cathedral to pray.
“She had a long prayer there, lit some candles. I didn't ever ask her what she prayed for, but I kind of have an idea,” said Schieffer.
Frances passed away Friday in Fort Worth, a few days short of 91 and Bernardy remembers a saying of her’s.
“She would say, 'Heaven is my home, but I'm not homesick.' So today I thought, she must've gotten homesick.”
Sister Maggie passed away in 2013, buried in a casket lined with Rangers blue and the team’s logo on top. The Rangers released a statement about Frances' passing Saturday and many associated with the team have shared their condolences on social media.