By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Patti Hammond is a hair stylist who, at 82, still works. Here’s how she does her hair — well, not her own — the hair that made her famous.
“I just buy a blond wig and spray it myself, with blue acrylic paint,” she said Friday. “I add little blue and green fuzzy balls. I make a new one every year. It gets rained on in a season.”
It takes that wig, a blue-and-green feather boa, sequined shoes and gloves, crazy green-and-blue eyeglasses, glitter, makeup and about two hours to transform her into “Mama Blue.”
That’s the name thousands of Seahawks fans know. That’s what she is called on the Seahawks website, which dubs her “team superfan Mama Blue.”
“I must get stopped 100 times every game. It just kind of snowballed,” said Hammond, who lives in Shoreline.
Her daughter Fran Hurley, of Mill Creek, said so many Seahawks fans stop her mom for autographs “it takes her two hours to get from the parking lot to her seat.” Outside CenturyLink Field, Hammond has her own spot to park the blue Cadillac she drives.
“She is amazing, and not just because she’s my mom,” Hurley said.
All done up as Mama Blue, Hammond will make an appearance in Mill Creek on Saturday to help bring in donations for the Mill Creek Food Bank. She will hand out Mama Blue photos to the first few hundred donors. The event, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 13212 Bothell-Everett Highway, is sponsored by Heart of Rock &Roll Espresso, owned by Jim and Kitty Jarriel. Until a year ago, the business then known as Heart to Heart Espresso was owned Hurley, who held annual food drives.
“We hope to bring in tons of food,” Hammond said.
In 1999, Mama Blue and fans from other NFL teams were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. “What an awesome honor,” she said. It won her an appearance on “The Roseanne Show.” Her story is also included in the book “Pro Football’s Most Passionate Fans,” by Harvey Aronson.
Dressed as Mama Blue, Hammond spoke up for Seahawks fans in Olympia in 1996 when Ken Behring, a previous team owner, wanted to move the Hawks to California.
Her super fandom started with a birthday gift. In 1976, the team’s first year, Hammond bought Seahawks season tickets for her husband Richard “Tricky” Hammond’s birthday. He had played football at Roosevelt High School in Portland, Ore. They graduated together in 1948. She was a cheerleader — and still is.
Being a high-profile fan has its rewards. After the Kingdome was demolished in 2000 and Qwest Field, now CenturyLink, opened, “They asked me, ‘Mama, where do you want to sit?’ I said, ‘Where do my boys come out?’” Hammond recalled. She has six front-row season tickets. Family members take turns going with her to games. Hammond has three children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
An honor in 2007 was tinged with sadness. At the Seahawks opener against Tampa Bay that year, Mama Blue was the first fan ever to raise the 12th Man flag. It was the last game her husband could attend. After nearly 60 years of marriage, he died of pneumonia on Dec. 28, 2007. The year before, they had traveled to Detroit to see the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
“The Seahawks have been very kind, and so generous with me and my family,” Hammond said.
Hurley, 61, said the family often gathers at Hammond’s Shoreline home to watch away games. That house is decked out as though every day is game day. The carpet is blue and green. Cases are packed with Seahawks memorabilia, including a football that Head Coach Pete Carroll signed for Hammond’s 80th birthday. “She even has Seahawks toilet paper, toilet seats and a shower curtain,” Hurley said.
Hammond’s nickname came years ago. She works as a hair stylist two days a week at home, but once owned a salon near Seattle’s Northgate called Hair-i-tage. One customer was the grandmother of a Sea Gal. “They named me Mama Blue,” she said.
She was a longtime president of a Sea Hawkers Booster Club chapter, and has met many players. Hammond still keeps in touch with the mother of Dave Krieg, a former Seahawks quarterback.
“I’ve had so many different teams,” she said. “It’s a fun thing when the old players come back. If I see Warren Moon or Steve Raible, they’ll say ‘Are you still here?’ And the young guys, they’re great.”
After 37 seasons, does she have a favorite Seahawk? If so, Mama Blue won’t say. “I just can’t,” she said.
Out of the spotlight, Hammond is still a football fan. Her great-grandson Steven Maynard plays for Eisenhower Middle School’s eighth-grade team. She goes to his games, too.
“She loves her boys,” Hurley said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help ‘Mama Blue’ at food drive
Flamboyant Seahawks fan “Mama Blue” will appear at a food drive 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 13212 Bothell-Everett Highway, Mill Creek, at the Jiffy Lube building. The food drive is sponsored by the Heart of Rock &Roll Espresso. All donations, nonperishable food and cash, will go to the Mill Creek Food Bank. For information, call the food bank at 425-582-5154.