First Lady of the
Kate Wedge walks through a sell-out crowd at Jacobs Field with an air of confidence and kindness. Most ushers and other workers acknowledge her with a huge smile. She greets them back, mostly by name. They share something special in that brief moment. Kate Wedge is the wife of Cleveland Indian's Manager Eric Wedge. That says a lot. But there is much more to Kate than just "the wife of…" Here is the rest of her story. Kate was born and raised in Buffalo New York, a city with many similarities to Cleveland. She has three older brothers, Paul, Dave and Joe. Sports were a huge part of her life growing up partially because of the male influences of three brothers, but also because she had an affinity to it herself.
Kate Wedge and her brothers
And of course, being raised in Buffalo with the Buffalo Bills she couldn't help but be a football fan. Kate was an athlete herself throughout High School. She played basketball and softball and was on the swim team.
Kate playing high school hoops
She continued to play basketball throughout part of college. Kate attended Brockport and Buffalo State University. While in college tragedy struck. Her mother suffered a massive heart attack and was not expected to live through the night. The priest was called to give her the Last Rites and the family was told to prepare funeral arrangements. The prayers and blessings worked and through what Kate calls "a miracle of God" her mother pulled through.
Kate Wedge and her Mom
All of the children felt that God was giving them a second chance and reinforced their feelings of how precious life is and just how dear and special it is to have a loved one like a mother. Kate left school, went to work at two jobs and moved in with her mother to help support her and the house. When she met Eric, Kate was still living with her mother. Although her mom is 100% disabled and dependent on a lot of medication she is doing very well and loving life. It is now eight years since she was told she wouldn't make it through the nightGrowing up, Kate's parents played a huge role in her life. They still have a very influential role. Her parents were divorced when she was very young, but since they remained friends they gave Kate and her brothers a real family to be part of. "I have learned so much form the both of them, and feel extremely blessed to have been given such wonderful people to guide me through life."Kate met her husband in 2001 while he was managing the Indians AAA team - the Buffalo Bisons. It was a quick romance - they were married in November 2002. Buffalo shares the same wintry weather as Cleveland so it was risky, but the weather held out with the exception of a few heaven-sent flurries as they left the Church. They had a rainy, but wonderful honeymoon in Nassau, the Bahamas.
Kate and Eric Wedge wedding
Just two weeks before the wedding Eric was made manager of the Cleveland Indians. They say there are a few specific times in a person's life that are more stressful than others. Included in this are things like, new job, moving, leaving home and, getting married. From late October, 2002 to January, 2003 when they moved to Cleveland, Kate and Eric changed jobs, moved to a new state, bought a house, got married, went on a honeymoon, packed up the old house and on January 2, 2003 drove to Cleveland. By February they left for spring training!
Kate never hesitated to take on all of this new stress. She appreciates and loves Eric to such a degree that she would undergo most anything to make him happy and support him and his passions. "Eric is a man who truly believes in his work and the people around him. He is a generous and compassionate person, and a wonderful husband. He is an inspiration to me."
Kate Wedge at the "Jake"
Needless to say, baseball has become a special interest for her. "I continue to be a fan of all sports, and now especially baseball, as you can imagine. I have grown to love baseball, and really have a lot of respect for this sport and its players. Now knowing more about baseball, I find it to be a unique and fascinating sport. "
Kate is still active in sports, although not in any league or organized fashion at the moment. But she doesn't rule that out for the future. Some people would be intimidated by the amount of men in her world. She became a wife and The Indians "First Lady" in a very short period of time. But it will take much more than that to intimidate Kate. She does not see herself as being surrounded by men, but rather she says she is "surrounded by great people that are respectful and kind."
Kate and Eric Wedge in 2002
She has gracefully adapted to her new role and is using her position to support and promote some very worthy causes. She considers this her full time job - and "the best job I ever had". Upon arriving in Cleveland she remembers being asked where she would most like to focus her time and energy. It wasn't hard for her to decide; she is passionate about women and children's issues.
Kate Wedge at Jacobs Field
She has been the honorary chairwoman of the Run,Jane,Run fundraiser for the Women's Center of Cleveland. She has recently become involved with Providence House, a crisis nursery for Cleveland's youngest victims.
As the wife of the manager, Kate also heads the Wives Association of the Cleveland Indians and plans community involvement and fundraisers for the players' wives.
Kate Wedge with Indians wives on Family Day 2004
John Carter of the Indians Community Relations Department assists her with this planning and commitment.
Kate watching Ceremonial First Pitch
on Race for the Cure Day at Jacob's Field
The wives have been involved in such noble causes as Race for the Cure, Make A Wish and the MS Society.
Race for the Cure Day at Jacob's Field
Kate is pleased with the advances being made in women's sports. When she played in college there was no next-step; no place to go. Now, with the advent and acceptance of women's pro sports, that ceiling has been removed.
Pink Ribbon of survivors on the field at Race for the Cure Day at Jacob's Field
She even believes it is possible for a woman to coach or manage a professional men's team, saying "I think that the possibilities are endless for women, and that a focused, dedicated woman has an opportunity to succeed anywhere!"
Kate and Eric Wedge signing autographs at Boys of Summer BBQ fundraiser for the Indians Wives Association
Kate can be found at every home game and about half of the away games. During the off-season husband Eric continues to work at Jacobs Field every day and sometimes they have to travel to winter meetings. But other than that they use the off-season time to relax and enjoy their time together. Kate gets a chance to cook during this time as well, and cooking is something she greatly enjoys. They take one vacation, just for fun each year and that is also something Kate looks forward to and enjoys.
Kate leaving the field at
Race for the Cure Day at Jacob's Field
When she has the chance, in addition to cooking, Kate loves to read and quilt. She also enjoys music, both listening and playing the piano. And of course a favorite pastime is spending time with her family. Leaving her hometown wasn't easy, but Kate found the transition to be much more enjoyable than anticipated. "Cleveland shares many of the same great qualities that my hometown, Buffalo has, that I feel very at home here. I find the people of Cleveland to be very down to earth, kind and genuine people. They have been very welcoming to us since we moved here."
Kate is looking forward to having and making many new family memories and hopes in the years to come they will be blessed with children. She also looks forward to working even more in the community and helping in the areas she is so passionate about.
Kate Wedge at Jacobs Field
No matter what else happens Kate plans on spending her days supporting her husband and loving her family. Hopefully that will happen right here in Cleveland as she helps him bring a pennant to the Cleveland Indians!Kate is a woman of substance - she has depth to her personality and has clarity to her purpose that is evident in everything she does. She is a strong woman with a deep sense of conviction.
She is a wonderful addition to Cleveland and we are proud to have her as the First Lady of The Cleveland Indians!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Kate and Eric Wedge on the birth of their first child. Ava Catherine arrived at 8:51 AM on Monday April 17, 2006
Kate and Eric Wedge
at the Cleveland Sports Banquet in 2007
Profiled by Debbie Hanson
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