The Usher and the Cookie Lady: Rangers Super Fans Reflect on 25 Years at Globe Life Park

Long before Globe Life Park was even a pipe dream, Pantego residents Cal and Shirley Kost were Texas Rangers fanatics.

"When we moved down here in 1979, we were really close to the ballpark," said Cal Kost. "And for a dollar and a half, I could sit in right field."

And they haven't looked back since. Their home looks like a Rangers museum, with entire rooms full of memorabilia, hundreds of autographed baseballs, framed pictures with players, unique Rangers art they've picked up through the years, and even an old seat from the original Arlington Stadium.

But as they'll tell you, it wasn't until 1994, when The Ballpark in Arlington first opened its gates, that their love affair with the team truly hit a fever pitch.

"The first time I saw I thought it was beautiful," said Shirley Kost. "We loved it. It's magnificent. The outside is just a big show piece."

After that first season, Cal heard the ballpark was hiring ushers. He immediately applied.

"I signed on as an usher in '95, so I could see the All-Star game," said Cal Kost. "Then I retired from my first job -- and I decided to stay on."

He's taken care of visitors in right field ever since.

Shirley, meanwhile, made it a point to go to as many games as she could, getting to know a lot of the players and team managers in the process.

One year, she and Cal went to Spring Training -- and Rangers pitcher John Wetteland invited her to take a ride with him on the back of his motorcycle.

To thank him, Cal suggested Shirley send him a plate of cookies.

"I don't know that I'm good," laughed Shirley Kost. "But I'm persistent. I do like to bake."

They were a hit. It wasn't long before word started getting out about her cookies -- not just among the team, but fans she encountered as well. And it got to the point where she couldn't show her face at the ballpark without bringing some cookies to share.

Thus "The Cookie Lady" was born.

"It's kind of magic," said Shirley Kost. "I sit in a very good spot. The vendors come by and I give them cookies. Different friends come by and I give them cookies. It's just gone on and on. I take them to the players and up to the press box."

She estimates that she bakes 7,000 - 8,000 cookies each season.

"It's a lot of cookies," Shirley Kost said. "A lot of cookies makes a lot of friends."

That could explain why the other night, the team asked both Shirley and Cal to pull the latest number off the "Games Remaining" countdown calendar out in left field -- an honor that has primarily been reserved for former players this season.

"To be able to be a part of that, in front of that crowd -- it makes you very humbled," said Cal Kost.

Not a bad way to cap off 25 years at their home away from home.

"I love that stadium -- always will," said Shirley Kost. "We'll get used to the new one and love it too, I'm sure. But there's a lot of memories at that one."

  

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