in the big leagues now

At 105 years old, Agnes McKee’s latest exercise plan—in between her bridge games and bingo sessions—included stretching her throwing arm to get ready for a landmark achievement: pitching in the major leagues.

“It’s never too late to try something new,” says Agnes, recognized as one of San Diego County’s oldest residents.

"It's never too late to try something new."

McKee became the oldest person ever to toss out the ceremonial first pitch at a Padres game when she took the field on July 20, 2014, four days after celebrating her 105th birthday. In true Agnes style, she opened with an MLB-worthy windup before making her toss to the Padre’s catcher.

“It was such an honor to be asked to throw out the opening pitch,” said Agnes, who weighs all of 90 pounds and stands not quite five feet tall. Her opening pitch is the latest milestone in a life marked with optimism and a sense of adventure. “I don’t dwell on anything or worry about something that might happen,” McKee said about her key to longevity. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.” 

Agnes celebrating her 105th birthday, alongside Oceanside's Mayor Woods, his assistant, and Oceanside's Fire Chief.

Though the recent trip to Petco Park was her first big public appearance, McKee is accustomed to grand celebrations. A photo album tucked beside her floral-printed sofa commemorates her 100th birthday, with congratulatory letters from President Barack Obama, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a California senator, plus pictures of her with Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood at her party.

When McKee crossed the 100 mark, she was invited to a show-and-tell session in a first-grade class at the elementary school across the street from her home, Fairwinds – Ivey Ranch.

“They were so surprised to see somebody that old,” McKee said with a soft chuckle, recounting that the students were quite amazed to hear about her Wii bowling league adventures.

Since then, she has visited a few other elementary schools, including a trip this spring that was planned to coincide with the 104th day of school. Scheduling the event was no easy task, as Agnes keeps a busy schedule of exercise and activities. Born on the outskirts of Indianapolis in 1909, Agnes was one of five sisters raised on her family’s small farm, which had a few crops, plus chickens and pigs. She credits her mom, who worked hard and saw the good in everything, and for her positive attitude.

After graduating from high school, Agnes moved to Cleveland just before the Great Depression shook the country. That’s where she began 66 years of marriage to her husband, Harry McKee. Agnes admits he was the true baseball fan, and they went to several games together before he died.

“He would be so proud,” she said about her recent pitch. “He would not be surprised at all. He always knew I was up for an adventure.”

One of the best ways to live a long and happy life, according to Agnes, is by indulging your passions. And her new goal? To get rid of the walker that she has used since she broke her hip two years ago. Talk to any of her many friends and the staff at Fairwinds – Ivey Ranch and they’ll tell you she can do it. With this attitude and zest for life, anything is possible for Agnes.

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