Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

They say the best jobs are the ones that don’t feel like work. For example, take the Alameda Recreation & Park Department offering teens the chance to earn summer cash as umpires for the program’s youth baseball games. Most of the takers were teens who were ballplayers themselves from the ranks of the ARPD’s Police League and local high school teams. When not playing ball, these guys were hanging out at the park. Why not get paid to be where you would be anyway? What a deal!

Shown in this photo from 1975 is Franklin Eagle and St. Joseph’s HS standout, Tom Lyons.  Tom, a.k.a. “Mr. Excitement” in later years, would earn his money this day officiating a PeeWee League tilt between Lincoln and Rittler.  Alas, Cub pitcher Johnny Perata – shown here – and his Lincoln teammates would lose their home game to the Bobcats by the score of 15-7.


Pitcher Johnny Perata sporting his Raider knit cap on a summer day.


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PlayBall! is sad to report the passing of lifetime Alamedan, friend of the parks, and the man in the blue Colombo bakery truck – Bernie Ratto. Bernie was the devoted husband of wife Tina, and father of three famous Krusi Colts: Doug, Don and Steve Ratto.

Bernie loved the game of baseball and obviously instilled that in each of his sons. More than a few sandwiches were doled out to hungry park rats in the Ratto family home on Post Street, just a Dean Henry pop fly away from Krusi Park.

Services were held on Saturday, January 15, at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Alameda’s East End. A full house, including many former park rats, paid their respects.

God speed Bernie, and thanks for being one of the many park parents who kept us all out of Sing Sing.

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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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Think back to the last weeks of school, just before summer vacation. The teachers were cramming everything into April and May, trying to make sure you got all the higher learning mandated by the school district. You on the other hand were enjoying the warmer weather and spending more time playing after school due to longer daylight hours. Naturally, it was hard to focus. Just too much going on!

Well, the staff of PlayBall! has been suffering from similar pre-summer distractions, too. A bunch of projects and spring coaching obligations mean less time behind the old keyboard crafting these meanderings back into the Golden Age of ARPD fun.

But bear with us. More memories are on the way!

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The Gigantes beat the Astros! And the Pachyderms… well, maybe next year. But the good news for everyone is that baseball season is now underway! And with the first pitch comes more from the archives of PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog.

Since school is still in session, let’s start in the hallowed halls of education. Here’s a snapshot from Lum School – 1965. Can you find an ARPD diamond ace lurking among these 6th Grade Einsteins?

TOP ROW – Danny Marshall, unknown, Franklin Eagle pitcher Steve Choy, unknown, unknown, Steve Farino (Franklin), unknown, unknown, Mike Bartell, Harry Schaefer.

Any other park rats in this photo?

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Every year a big box would arrive at the local park office. The contents contained a closely guarded secret that would only be revealed at the appointed hour. Anyone caught peeking inside was sentenced to a day’s banishment from the park. (Or if it was Bill Leitz, you got sandwich duty for a week – that meant the offender was sentenced to ride his bike to the P&G Delicatessen on Park Street to pick up Bill’s lunch order.) Inside the box were dozens of that season’s baseball t-shirts.

Kim Buffy and Mike Jacobs "Come on, let's peek inside the box."

Although the individual park logos had a long shelf life, every few years the park color combinations would change. I imagine Lil got a good price by ordering thousands of shirts at a time. Perhaps the decision for a color change was signaled when the supply ran out! “Shirley, the t-shirts for Woodstock and Lincoln are getting low. Time to swap their colors.” But I digress…

PlayBall! needs your continued help in trying to identify t-shirt colors associated with the parks during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Here’s what we recall:

Franklin  – Midnight blue shirt, white logo (pre-1966)

Franklin – Burgundy shirt; white logo (1966 – ?)

Krusi – Black shirt, white logo

Krusi – Navy blue shirt, white logo

McKinley – Black shirt, white logo

Rittler – Yellow shirt, black logo

Washington – Yellow shirt, black logo

Washington – Yellow shirt, blue logo

Edison – Forest green shirt, white logo

Edison – Black t-shirt, white logo

Lincoln – ?

Longfellow – ?

Godfrey – ?

Woodstock – Blue shirt, yellow logo (1968)


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Wondering what to give that special gal or guy in your life this Valentine’s Day?

A heart shaped box of See’s Chocolates? No, too fattening!

A romantic weekend on Kauai? Ouch on the wallet!

The latest sizzling outfit from Victoria’s Secret? Sure, but as you can see… their top model, Giselle Bundchen, loves the Valentine’s gift she received from her hubby Tom Brady. The New England quarterback can afford any gift his wife desires, but Tom chose to give the love of his life a copy of PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga on DVD.

Now you can join the Brady’s and buy a copy of PlayBall! for a romantic Valentine’s Day special price of just $14.00! Click her for more details: Order Giselle’s Favorite Gift

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