90-year-old Tigers fan will celebrate birthday during 2024 home opener

You're never too old to experience a first and in Sterling Heights, one grandmother is about to check off a milestone that's 90 years in the making.

Margaret Donkin is a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan. Whenever baseball is on and she's in her recliner, she's in her happy place - especially when it's the hometown team.

While Macular degeneration has impacted how she sees the games, it hasn't robbed her of the joy that baseball season brings. The 2024 season is turning into a good one for the Tigers and they haven't even played a home game. 

When they do arrive at Comerica Park for the Friday afternoon pitch against the Oakland Athletics, Donkin will be there. It will be her first Opening Day game she's ever attended.

"I have been so excited that I can’t sleep," Donkin said. "I think about what am I going to wear, where are we going to sit, are we going to win? I just hope we win."

They've been doing some winning already, sweeping their first series and topping the New York Mets as well. 

Some Donkin's earliest memories were watching the Tigers.

"The first I remember of watching the Tigers is when I used to come home from school, and my mom would be ironing and listening to Harry Heilman," she said.

MORE: What you can and cannot bring to Detroit Tigers Opening Day

Hoping to pay tribute to her loyalty, her grandkids arranged for her to watch the first game live. Because, according to Michael VanOvermeer, "watching her watch the game will be the best part."

"She thought it was just going to be my siblings and I, and cousins, and my dad and my aunt, but there’s a lot more people that she’s a grandma to than that," he said.

The idea started last fall when the grandchildren brainstormed gifts for Donkin's 90th birthday. Loved ones wanted to do something big and a few calls later, they had their plan. It'll be a bus load of 40 people that will join Donkin for the big celebration.

"They’re such a loving, wonderful group of kids. Whatever I ask or say, comes true. It’s like magic," Donkin said. "They’re a wonderful bunch of kids."


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