Park Opening: 1923
Named after: Franklin School (Benjamin Franklin)
Location: Bordered by San Jose Avenue, Paru Street, San Antonio Avenue, Morton Street
Baseball Diamond: One (1)
Dimensions: Left Field Shack – 127′ / Left Field Fence – 141′ / Center Field – 187′ / Right Field – 162′
Unique features: Short left field fence, gardener shack down left field line, wooden scoreboard platform along left field foul territory (San Jose Avenue side)
Team Names: Eagles, Hawks, Phillies
Pee-Wee League: 1963 (National Division 9-1)
Little Coast League: 1963 (11-1)
Girls Softball: 1965, 1976
B&M Market – Encinal Ave.
Chaix Liquors (Chestnut Encinal Market) – Corner of Encinal Ave. and Chestnut St.
Chestnut Variety (aka Hugo’s) – Corner of Encinal Ave and Chestnut St.
Ruby’s Diner – Encinal Ave.
Photo of Franklin Park, circa 1955, taken from 1400 block of San Jose Ave. (Courtesy of Ruth E. Llorens Brayman)
“With 4 boys you can be sure my mom appreciated the fact that we could hang out at Franklin Park all day instead of under her feet.”
Joe Clasby – Samui, Thailand
“I have lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and across the street from a lovely city park, for 26 years. This park has a ball field, tennis court, soccer field, and playground (and sledding hill, which Franklin Park lacked!) but it has never seen the level of constant activity and wonderful energy that defined Franklin Park when we were growing up. Franklin Park was our (the kids, that is) piazza. I think we sensed it at the time, but we certainly know it for certain now. What a special place.”
Julia “Julie” Wondolleck – Ann Arbor, Michigan
“Franklin was, without a doubt, the best place to play baseball as a kid. We’d all keep track how many times we hit it over the left field fence (Shane Berlin held the unofficial record). Also, during my day (late 70’s, early 80’s) we had, by far, the best baseball teams in Alameda Rec.”
“I wasn’t good enough to play baseball but I watched the two older Speiers play baseball at Franklin Park in the early 1960s. I played on a Franklin Park basketball team coached by Bob Howard that included Chris Speier, Mike Busell, Paul McBride, Mark Lightcap, Gary Dettmer and others in 1964. We won most of our games but lost to Estuary in an outdoor game at Franklin 28-22.
My family moved away from Alameda in 1964 and I didn’t return until 2008. Franklin Park is a very good memory and sometimes I shoot baskets there today.”
“Franklin Park is where we hung out all year around after school. In the summer, we couldn’t wait until baseball season to start. The baseball tryouts and getting a brand new Franklin Eagles T-shirt. We had great park directors like Bob Howard. I miss those days!”
“As fun as the park league games were, what I really remember is playing “2nd base” or “teatherball pole” and over pick up games for hours and hours all summer long with maybe 4 or 5 guys on a team. We’d have periodic treks to B&M market for Pepsi’s in a bottle and sunflower seeds always cutting through the alley next to the Murphy’s house to get there.
I also remember playing “pickel” with the “big guys” with us little guys being the base runners. I once slid into a Terry White applied tag and wound up with a chipped front tooth!”
Tony “Anthony” Reid