Archive for March, 2014

Hey Alameda Park Rats – If you aren’t already planning to attend tonight’s big event in support of the new ARPD park league baseball program, PLEASE change your plans.

It’s only $10 and all the money goes to the program. Lots of old friends, MLB players, fun, park league t-shirts, a couple of segments of PlayBall! and much more!! Let’s go Franklin Eagles, Krusi Colts, Edison Indians, Rittler Wildcats, Longfellow Tigers, Woodstock Seals, Lincoln Lions, Washington Pirates, Estuary Rams, and Boys Club! Tonight is our night to shine and give back to the community that took care of us!

Tonight we shine!

Alameda Will Shine Tonight


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Ponce Pounces on Rittler Wildcats

Ponce Pounces on Rittler Wildcats

Longfellow Tiger Gabe Ponce pitched a one-hitter against the Rittler Wildcats in 1970 Pee-Wee League action. The fourth-grade Tiger ace also contributed a three-run homer and a two-RBI base knock in the 17-0 route. (Did Rittler have anyone on the field?) Gabe fanned ’16 Cats but lost his no-hit bid when opposing pitcher Charlie Bertucio laid down a beautiful bunt to reach first base.

Ponce is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gabrial Ponce of 623 Lincoln Avenue. This is Ponce’s first Player of the Week recognition (we bet he earns another one down the road). Gabe has 29 total strikeouts this season and is tied with another Pee-Wee hurler, Ray Snider of the Edison Indians.

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Can you guess which of the people in the photo below will be at the First Pitch Party on Thursday night at the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex?

The Rittler Park staff, Bob Machin, Steve Cressy and Keri Spaulding, keep The Maltese Falcone company on Family Night in September 1975.

The Rittler Park staff, Bob Machin, Steve Cressy and Keri Spaulding, keep The Maltese Falcone company on Family Night in September 1975.

We’ll give you a hint: It won’t be former Giants pitcher Pete “The Maltese” Falcone.

VIP Tickets for the March 20 gala benefit are sold out! However, there are still General Admission tickets available for just $10.00. Come on down and see many of your park directors from back in the day. I guarantee that Bill Lietz will NOT be handing out bicycle tickets.

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Almost four years ago, PlayBall! posted a question submitted by a young boy named Cody (see “Cody Says It All” below).  At that time, the idea of park league baseball returning was nothing more than a dream from the Edison Indian’s peace pipe. Well, Cody, sometimes miracles happen and other times Santa appears in June.  I hope you are still out there because thanks to the efforts of people like Kevin Kennedy, Kyle Conner, Eric Cross, Amy Woodbridge, and many more, the park league is back. No tryouts. No cost. Just fun playing baseball.

Cody Says It All

June 17, 2010 by playball94501

Here is a recent comment posted by a young PlayBall! reader named Cody:

Is this a league where you can sign up and play baseball with no tryouts? If it is I would love to join and just have some fun playing ball.


This should make the skin on former Park Rats everywhere tingle. Imagine, a young man who wants to go to the park and just play ball! No tryouts. No one to say you are good enough. Just grab a glove and head to second base. How many of us were fortunate enough to hear that from one of the great park directors back in the day?

Cody, I wish I had the power to whisk you back to a summer day in 1969 so you could experience what we did every day during every summer.

In this age of traveling baseball, not all our kids are being well served. Lil Arnerich, where are you? A new generation of park rats needs you.

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Spotting a speedy roadrunner on the Garden Isle is an extremely rare occurence, however, our crack PlayBall! staff has uncovered one recorded sighting. Back in September of ’75 one such bird was captured on Kodachrome at Rittler Park!

Yes, readers, Jeff Oh of the Rittler Wildcats was photographed trying on the golden cleat he was awarded as winner of ARPD’s 1975 Outstanding Baserunner! The Pee-Wee League speedster tore up the bath paths that season and his legend will live on here on PlayBall! for future generations in the new park league to aspire to!

Road Runner Award winner Jeff Oh of the Rittler Wildcats.

Road Runner Award winner Jeff Oh of the Rittler Wildcats.

Speaking of the ARPD’s new t-shirt baseball league, have you purchased your tickets yet to the big fundraiser this coming Thursday night – March 20 – at the luxurious Alameda Theatre? If not, get your own gold cleats on and dash down to the box office today! You can also order online at www.alamedatheatres.com  It’s only $10.00 and owner Kyle Conner is standing by to welcome you to the fun!  BEEP! BEEP!

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Here is a list of the Alameda Recreation & Park Department Boys Baseball All-Stars from 1964.
PEE WEE LEAGUE – National Division

Franklin: Steve Choy, Dave Perata

Godfrey: Greg Peterson

Krusi: Kevin Kearney

Rittler: Mike Bartell, Dennis Reeder, Tim Marr

Others (park affiliation undetermined): Peter Annibale, Terry Davis, Mark Farley, Clarence Lewis, James Littlejohn, Mike McKee, Robert Villa

PEE WEE LEAGUE – American Division

Edison: Eric Jorgensen, David May

Franklin: Tom Curran, Andre Reynier

Others (park affiliation undetermined): Manny Abeyta, Sonny Cook, Rich Ensley, Tim Illacqua, Bob Leach, Albert Pamiroyan, Paul Ryan, Nick Sablan, Steve Sanchez, Ward Spangler


Estuary: Kenny Walker, Gary Wayne

Franklin: Jerry Carr, John Cressy

Rittler: John Dutcher

Woodstock: Lester Mina, Ron Hunter

Others (park affiliation undetermined): David Annibale, John Costello, Ron Demele, Mike Gordner, Maurice Lyons, Donald Meninga, Bruce Metzlar, John Norning, Steve Ratto, John Sablan, Jeff White


Estuary: Glen Abrams, Forrest Hayman, Wendell Jones

Franklin: Paul McBride

Godfrey: Dennis Peterson

Krusi: Mike Freccero

Others (park affiliation undetermined): Mel Arnerich, Paul Cox, Greg Estes, Gary Fascilla, Rich Fernandez, Paul Hoopaugh, Mark Jurgens, David Mauldin, Mike McKee, Barry Murphy, Andres Sablan, David Sims

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The ARPD program has always been a model organization. Whether it was baseball, softball, basketball, flag football, arts & crafts, fishing derbies, camps, or sand castle contests, at the core of it all was community. I would argue that the parks were the single most important driver of community in Alameda’s post WWII history.

At the center of every activity was the park director. Paid recreation professionals who were trained in providing a great experience and coaching for every child who came to the parks. As Sam Spear said in his interview for PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga “It was inclusive”. The directors were trained to made it so.

One could also argue that every park director was legendary in their own right. Among the elite, was Audrey Elderts who could be spotted anywhere on the park property by her trademark floppy hat. In recent exchanges on Facebook, a number of West End kids fondly recalled Audrey as someone who made an impact on their lives. The photo above features Audrey at a Family Night Picnic in September 1975, accompanied by her equally legendary colleagues Roger Alexander and Chuck Higgins. The Contaxis family is shown toasting their ARPD hosts with some lemonade.

For a taste of community, please join us for the First Pitch Benefit Party at the Alameda Theatre on March 20. Roger Alexander will be there in all his legendary glory! Don’t miss out!

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