Archive for the ‘Estuary Rams’ Category

Park Director and Asst. Recreation Supervisor (1958-1968) – Estuary, Krusi, Lincoln, Franklin, Woodstock, ARPD Office

Some of Don’s recollections from his time working at the ARPD, “Working for the ARPD gave me the chance to develop my skills as a teacher and coach. The role enabled me to learn how to work with kids of all backgrounds. It was my opportunity to truly understand diversity.

One summer coaching the Lincoln Park Bantam team, we didn’t win a single game. Regardless of the game results, these 12 players showed up for every practice and game. When  they reached high school, two of the kids were named All-League. When I coached at Krusi Park, some of the core players, in the various age groups, ultimately went on to play in the Babe Ruth Program and at higher levels, including college and the pros.

Some of the memorable recreation professionals and park directors for me were Bea Rowney, Lil Arnerich, Ray Luce, Augie Gouig, Don Grant and Bob Howard. Others who really led the kids and liked the youngsters at their parks were Barry Weiss, Paul Klays, and Al Thomas.”


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PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog extends a big hug to all the current and former Alameda mothers out there! You were the well-oiled machine that enabled thousands of us park rats to flock to our respective parks each day.


Mrs. Joan Henderson cheers on her lil' park rat Charlie on a summer day, some 40 years ago.

Mrs. Joan Henderson (right) cheers on her lil’ park rat Charlie on a summer day, some 40 years ago.

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Someone recently told Alameda’s Sandlot Blog that in 1958 Franklin Park fielded a team named the Mets. The City Desk argued that wasn’t possible since the New York Mets didn’t come into existence until 1962. A little more research led our staff to the magical 1964 season and the second division finish for… the Franklin Mets.

But you may be asking, “Why was magical about the 1964 season?”

The answer is simple and can be found in the standings where the storied Estuary Rams went undefeated with a perfect 11-0 mark!

Here’s the final standings for 1964 in the Little Coast League:

Estuary, Krusi, Franklin and Lincoln were the Little Coast powers in 1964.

Estuary, Krusi, Franklin and Lincoln were the Little Coast powers in 1964.


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Like all great socio-anthropologic efforts, you will never know everything about any one subject. It’s an ongoing search to uncover the unknown. So, too, is the case with PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog. We’ll never rest until every park rat has been identified, all the old shirts re-discovered, and every last one of Barry Weiss’ sunflower seed casings unearthed well, maybe we need SuperFund resources for that last one).

Thanks to a recent post by Fready B. Wishups, we know have a new path to follow. Mr. Wishups calls attention to what was once known as the Webster Playground. Our staff will will now begin to explore where Webster Playground was located and more about a seemingly forgotten haven for Alameda’s west end kids.

Here’s what Fready has to share: “WEBSTER PLAYGROUND had the following players: Tommy Harper, Sidney Lane, Mac Arthur Lane, Donald Johnson, Milton Johnson, James Carter, Marvin White, Emerson Johnson, James Nelson and more that I can’t think of now… Mr. (Don) Grant was a Playground Director at both Webster and Estuary with Webster being his first assignment.

So park rats and would be “socio-anthropologists” everywhere, start scraping the memory banks for more on this forgotten Island paradise. (LOL, the title of “socio-anthropologist” will get you into more places than just being an Elk, plus a discount at Walgreen’s at South Shore Shopping Center!)

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PlayBall! is sad to learn of the passing of one of our own. Curtell Motton, former park rat and outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, headed for home one last time on Thursday, January 21, following a yearlong battle with cancer.

Curt played on the Alameda sandlots with other legendary Encinal High School heroes, Willie Stargell and Tommy Harper. Motton would go on to play for the University of California at Berkeley and was signed by the Chicago Cubs in the 1961 amateur draft. The next year he was drafted by the O’s in whose organization Motton would spend the next nine years.

Called up to the Show in 1967, Curt would compete for playing time in the Birds all-star outfield consisting of Paul Blair, Don Buford, and future Hall Of Famer, Frank Robinson. He would also play for the Milwaukee Brewers and California Angels during his eight years in the majors (1967-74).

Motton’s best season was 1969 when he hit .303 during the regular schedule, and .500 in his first American League Championship Series against the Minnesota Twins. He would also appear in the World Series that same year against eventual World Champions… the Amazin’ Mets. Curt saw post season action again with Baltimore in 1971 and 1974, returning home in both to play against the Oakland A’s.

So long, Curt! Thanks for the memories.

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Park Rat and ARPD Park Director

Larry was an Estuary Ram who shared his memories of Estuary Park in PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga. He also went on to work for the ARPD as a PD. Larry was a gifted all-around athlete and signal caller for the Encinal Jets varsity football team.

Tours of Duty:

QB Wayne in action against Berkeley - 1968 (Photo: Bordanaro and Zarcone)

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With a holiday week approaching, some ex-pat Alamedans will be returning to the Garden Isle for a whiff of mom’s (grandma’s) Thanksgiving turkey and home cooking. Take a minute to climb up in the old attic searching for your childhood ARPD treasures. T-shirts, trophies, and photos!

If you happen to run into anyone from the “old days”, please pass along news of PlayBall – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog. Ask them to take a moment and send us some names and memories.

Hopefully, an old Ram or two will find their way along the cyber trail to share some recollections of the “park” that had its backstop removed… never to be returned.

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