“I was hired by (Sox Vice President/General Manager) Stu Holcomb,” Faust said. “Stu heard me play at a function that he attended — he really liked an arrangement I made on (the Henry Mancini song) ‘Moon River.’ And I followed up with a letter after realizing that he was there, a letter of interest should he ever decide to make a change in terms of music. And he actually filed the letter, I guess, and called me about a month before the season started and hired me. I didn’t have to audition.”
“The center-field organ perch was a good place to cut my teeth, because I could grow and make mistakes, especially since no one was out in center field that year,” Faust said of the 1970 season, when the Sox only drew 495,355 fans. “My very first year I think I was making $95 a game, which was comparable to a schoolteacher’s salary. And I had no experience, really. I mean, I had plenty of experience as a musician but not as a ballpark organist, but not that much was required in terms of what I could do.
“So all I did was a little fanfare then as a batter approached the plate. And then I just provided the happy music in between each inning. Or if there was a pitching change. I also played for an hour as fans entered the park.”
Holcomb, however, suggested that Faust be more involved in game action. “Stu gave me a roster of the players and their states,” she said. “He’d say Bart Johnson was from California. And Ken Berry, Kansas City. And Rick Reichardt, Wisconsin. So he said if you could give a little fanfare when they walk up to the plate, wouldn’t that be nice? I said sure, that’s right up my alley. I can play anything. I knew all the state songs because I’d grown up playing the organ. My mother was a musician. I knew every song she ever knew. I played by ear. So it just came easy.”
Soon, she was expanding her role to provide musical commentary on the game. “I think that I grew as I learned more about the team and more about each player and the terminology so that I could be more clever,” Nancy said. “I’d see a player wearing number three, and my thought process was, I’ll play (the theme to) ‘My Three Sons.’ I could give this a little more color. And I kind of just went from there.”
While Holcomb was resented by players, Chuck Tanner and Roland Hemond, Faust credited him for much of her success.
“I worshipped Stu because he was a champion for me,” Nancy said. “The year I was hired, I remember a petition being circulated because (some fans) didn’t think a woman belonged here. But he ignored it and whatever he said gave me confidence.”
Holcomb also went to bat for Faust when Detroit Tigers Manager Billy Martin complained about her music.
“(Martin) didn’t like the music I was playing when his team was at bat, and he complained to the umpires, who told me to stop playing,” Faust recalled. “And right away Stu called and said you keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t be intimidated.