Archive for August, 2009

Back in the day, your mom could usually count on seeing you for two meals… breakfast and dinner. Lunch during the summer was iffy at best, but you always headed to the kitchen in the morning to fuel up before heading to the park.

I don’t know about your household, but my mom was not June Cleaver who always had a stack of hot cakes and bacon waiting for Wally and the Beav. Before the advent of Pop-Tarts and Leggo frozen waffles, cereal was king for a kid on the go.

Selecting your favorite cereal was not necessarily about the nutritional content. Like many other kids, I often fell pray to Madison Avenue marketing tactics when making my cereal choice. Whoever offered the best stuff inside the box was far more important than taste and substance.

Post brand cereals were not always the best you could buy at Lucky’s or Ben’s Market, but they had baseball cards on every box! How could anything possibly compete with the chance to get a Willie Mays card? In fact, you even knew what cards you were getting because they were printed on the outside of the box. So what if the cereal itself tasted like cardboard? You just added more sugar and plugged your nose.

In all fairness to Mom, she was clever enough to make me finish all the cereal BEFORE I was allowed to take scissors to the box.



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Brian Cary was not just a Franklin Eagle player, he was also a dedicated park rat who, like many other kids that grew up in the ARPD program, also gave back to the community as he grew older.

Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

Brian, shown here while umpiring a Bantam League game in 1970, grew up on San Jose Ave. just a Stargell home run away from Franklin Park. Most summer days he climbed aboard his red Murray bicycle with the high handlebars to make the short trip to the park. He played for the Eagles throughout his park career and was a graduate of the Sam Spear School of Umpiring enabling him to earn money calling park league games.

Later during high school, Brian applied his diamond skills playing varsity baseball for St. Joseph’s High School. During that time he was also a leader in the ARPD camp program (Hidden Cove, Trails End, Primitive Pack Trips). While attending College of Alameda, Cary once again went to work for the ARPD as a park director (Buena Vista and Godfrey) before ultimately joining the Alameda Police Department where he retired as sergeant a few years ago after a long career.

Today, Brian is in charge of security operations for Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Like some other park rats, he traded in his Louisville Slugger for a fishing pole, and now lives in the Sierras with his wife Paula (another native Alamedan).

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Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

Back on June 23, 2009, PlayBall! called attention to the left field scoreboard at Krusi Park’s Diamond #3 (parallel to Otis Drive). This reporter’s feeble memory couldn’t recall anyone ever using the various park scoreboards for purposes other than hijinx and taboo gymnastics. I’m pleased to report that definitive proof of such activity has now been discovered.

Notice all this photo from July, 1970, has to offer. First, we see Pirate infielder Marvin White eagerly anticipating a batted ball from this day’s opponents, the Godfrey Rodents.

Second, Marvin is wearing the common attire for this era: the ubiquitous black Converse All-Star low tops, a white t-shirt underneath his Washington Pirate t-shirt, and of course, blue jeans (possibly purchased at J.C. Penney’s located at Alameda’s South Shore Shopping Center or perhaps the Navy Exchange at NAS ALameda). Young Mr. White also appears to be sporting an Oakland A’s cap. Judging by the style, his brim was likely procured at an A’s Cap Day.

And lastly, something of greater relevance to this posting, please note what is lurking in the background of the photo… several park rats sitting atop Washington Park’s left field scoreboard actually posting the game score! Yes faithful readers, the ARPD park leagues did use the green wooden structures for the intended purpose of tracking the score.

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The staff of PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog would like to thank all of our devoted readers. Your positive response has been unbelievable! Our virtual office will be closed until August 22 while we enjoy a few days relaxing in Pat Conroy’s lawn chair, playing ping pong, Fuzz, Man-On, and drinking cold bottles of Coca-Cola at the park.

In the meantime, keep your great park memories coming!

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A double shot of Mike Carlson, Krusi Colt and one of the nicest guys you ever had the chance to play with. But don’t let Mike’s pleasant demeanor fool you. He was a fierce competitor on the diamond or hard court who never gave up and always brought hustle.

Like so many of the Krusi park rats of his generation, he went on to work for the ARPD as a park director. “Carl” also played NCAA Div I Men’s Volleyball in college.

Mike Carlson on the mound in 1973 Photo credit: Acamar)

Mike Carlson on the mound in 1973 (Photo credit: Acamar)

By the way… Mike and his Krusi Little Coast team won the game 10-3 over the Woodstock Dolphins. Carlson struck out seven and added a double on this summer day in 1973.

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To prove that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time on the island, especially playing the old hometown golf links, I was stunned to find that there was a new baseball diamond at Godfrey Park.

Apparently the gophers finally completed their diabolical fifty-year plan to build such an extensive  tunnel system under the old diamond that it would eventually collapse leaving the space to the indigenous rodents. The old backstop and diamond are now gone. Darn, just when most of us old Franklin Eagles had figured out where the gopher holes were!

The new facility was built sometime between fall 2003 and summer 2009 in what was once center field of the old yard. Here’s a photo of the new diamond.

Photo credit: Kin Robles

Photo credit: Kin Robles

Fortunately, I took pictures of the old backstop and diamond back in 2003 for my PlayBall! documentary. (See Godfrey Park – The Stats)

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Robin Niederbrach provided this great photo of her 1974 Krusi Colts Junior Girls team. Coach Adrienne Chaix led the squad to a league title. Check out the future AHS varsity basketball MVP in the front row sporting those cool rims.

Photo courtesy of Robin Neiderbrach

Photo courtesy of Robin Niederbrach

TOP ROW: Lisa Hurt, Mary Yarbrough, Darlene Hernandez, Selma Seabock, Robin Niederbrach, Kelly Giblin, Linda Giblin, (unknown), PD Adrienne Chaix

BOTTOM ROW: Teri Rolleri, Lisa Caviglia, (unknown), Lisa Cecconi, Debbie Trevallion

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