03/28/11 8:00 PM ET
Dodgers fan, 95, facing end of legendary streak
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
The 95-year-old great-grandmother had been to every Los Angeles Dodgers home opener since there's been the Los Angeles Dodgers, 53 years and counting.
Until this year.
Berkson was still planning to attend the Dodgers-Giants opener on Thursday even after having a pacemaker implanted recently, only to suffer a broken pelvis in a fall less than two weeks before the game.
Berkson grew up in Chicago and has been a baseball fan since Calvin Coolidge was president.
"I played baseball, too," she said. "In elementary school. I was a catcher. I was a big girl."
Fondness for the national pastime occasionally took precedence over other pursuits, she admits.
"The first Major League game I saw at Wrigley Field was when I was in high school," she said. "It was Ladies Day and I got in free. Skipped school, but don't tell my teacher. So, yes, I was a Cubs fan."
That came to a screeching halt near the end of World War II.
"In 1946, I came out to California to visit my sister," she recalled. "The first day out here I said, 'This is it,' and I never went back. Leaving Chicago was easy."
She kept her fascination with baseball satisfied by attending games of the Pacific Coast League's Hollywood Stars at Gilmore Field, now the site of CBS Studios and The Grove.
"When the Dodgers came out in 1958, I became a Dodgers fan and went to the first Opening Day at the Coliseum," Berkson said. "Baseball was a good reason to go out. I bought season tickets the year Dodger Stadium opened  and have had them every year, but gave them up this year because it's gotten hard for me to do. I guess I'm a lifetime fan -- I'm 95 years and still going."
Nellie said she tries to follow her club on television "when I can stay up."
Asked for her favorite Dodgers player, she revealed a surprising name for an understandable reason.
"Jim Gott," she said, naming the reliever who pitched for the Dodgers from 1990-94. "He was wonderful to my grandson, who had leukemia. He took him under his wing, into the dugout. He's still my favorite Dodger."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.