Tell Him Goodbye!


With great sadness we report the passing of A.J. “Lil” Arnerich.

Anyone who follows PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog knows that “Lil” was the Dean Emeritus of Alameda Baseball. His legacy as a tireless champion for the youth of Alameda is without peer.  Thanks to him, thousands of kids found Alameda playgrounds a safe home away from home. A haven where every child, regardless of ability, was given the opportunity to enjoy athletics… especially, his first love, BASEBALL! There would be no PlayBall! if not for his vision.

Thank you, Lil. God speed!




Your First Glove

The year was… well, never mind the when, but one Saturday my Dad took me to Western Auto at the South Shore Center. The store had a large sporting goods section in addition to the usual car parts and tools inventory. During this visit Dad bought me my first baseball glove.



I’d like to say I still have that mitt today but I don’t. My dog probably ate it somewhere along the way.  However, a few years back, I was at a garage sale when, low and behold, there it was! The same Regent BG530 model that served me well at the hot corner of Franklin Park. Naturally I gladly paid the $3.00 price tag without even the slightest thought of negotiation. You don’t barter for the Mona Lisa. Besides, that’s probably what my Dad paid for it new back in the day.

Tells us about your first glove?


Playing the hot corner takes a special kind of player. Cat-like reflexes. Fearless demeanor. Soft hands. Big arm. Strong teeth… and a set of pipes. Scotty Olson was the perfect choice to man position for the Eagles. He also had some pop in the bat that sent a few “indoor” baseballs over the fence at Franklin.

The original caption of the photo printed in the PlayBall! weekly supplement misspelled Scott’s name. Imagine that! Fortunately, this digital fish wrap has corrected the egregious error that left the young player emotionally scarred for the past 47 years.


Original caption: HEY BATTER – Franklin Eagle third sacker Scott Olsen lets the batter know that he’s there.



Washington D.C.The White House is once again attacking the news media claiming we are reporting stories that are not based in truth. PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog takes exception to this false claim as our stories always follow tried and true investigative reporting practices while pursuing the highest journalism standards.

Now to set the record straight on a 1971 story reported by our predecessor – who shall remain nameless lest we be sued in courts of law. The original PlayBall! supplement headline read as follows: Ray Snyder Shuts Out Indians 11-0. The article further claims that the pitcher played for the Longfellow Tigers of the ARPD’s PeeWee League. Unfortunately, this piece of reporting was made in error.


The local sports editor, must have been pressed for a print deadline following a long night at the Driftwood and allowed his typesetter, Scoop Thomas, to set the storyline. Forty-seven years later, we want to set the record straight once and for all. Here’s the real scoop…

Ray Snyder, was actually the losing pitcher as his Edison Indians were shut down by  Longfellow Tiger hurler Gabe Ponce who also struck out 14 Tribesmen in the win. Also, this was a PeeWee League contest, not a Midget game as reported.

Another victory for truth in journalism! Sorry Ray.

Strapping On The Tools

Pee Wee League catcher Wendel Kuhn straps on his shin guards in preparation for a big late summer game.  The Franklin Eagle backstop is still sporting his Rittler cap from a previous season. Wonder if he still has that cap?

Many kids played for multiple parks over the course of their ARPD youth baseball careers as their parents moved about the Garden Isle. One of the greatest accomplishments of Alameda’s founding fathers was to install playgrounds across the city. That effort continues today as new recreation facilities continue to be a priority for Alameda.


Catcher Kuhn’s wristwatch must have been a Timex because only they could “take a licking and keep on ticking!”

PeeWee Rodent Righty

The sandlot at Godfrey Park provided a fantastic vista of the East Bay hills. Being next to the Alameda Golf Course added to an already broad landscape perspective that made the outfield seem even larger than it was. A swift trio of outfielders was needed to track down drives to the gap or any hit that would get up into the ever present afternoon wind.

During a PeeWee League contest this Gopher ace looks to deliver a blue blazer that will get by the batter and keep his right fielder positioned on the fringe.


Looks like the shift was on for a left-handed batter.

Going Oppo at Franklin

Franklin right-handed slugger Jeff McAuliffe prepares to take one deep to the park’s opposite field blacktop and drive in some runs. Note the Cookie Rojas model spectacles sported by the mighty Eagle in this rare color photo from the Golden Age of ARPD Park League baseball. While the photo is a bit blurry it helps you, the reader, relive what Jeff’s vision was like back in those days of yore.


Big Jeff takes a cut with the famous Franklin Park rose bushes in the background along San Jose Avenue.

Today, Jeff’s vision is much improved as he proudly watches his son Michael who is the starting catcher for Campolindo HS Varsity Nine. When he wasn’t peppering the horse hide around Franklin, Jeff, and teammate Brian O’Malley, could be found at B&M Market purchasing frozen candy bars recounting their success on the diamond.

Fortunately for PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog, O’Malley’s parents took a number of color photographs from back in the day. This fine online chronicle has gained access to the photo stash and will bring them to our faithful subscribers over the course of the 2018 season!