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Alamedans should lock their doors next month because the Garden Isle will be overrun with tigers… LONGFELLOW TIGERS!


Phil Canalin, esteemed author and Encinal High School legend, just announced plans for a Longfellow Park Reunion on Saturday, June 10. Loyal readers of this digital fishwrap are left to wonder if Phil has had a few too many Longboard Lagers at today’s Park Street Spring festival. I can assure you that is not the case, he actually had the idea for this reunion minutes before he started savoring fresh malt beverages.

Longfellow Tiger Reunion, Sat., June 10
11:00am to 4:00pm
Bring a picnic lunch, chairs, blankets, balls, gloves
Bring family, friends and Tigers (live or stuffed)
Bring pictures, articles, Park memorabilia


The question in this reporter’s mind is: Will Eagles, Pirates, Seals, Lions, Gophers, Colts, Mustangs, Indians, Wildcats, and Bears be welcome or slapped with a bicycle ticket by Jimmy Pitts? For more information post questions to Phil here on PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog!

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Fernside Market

The little market on the corner of Fernside Blvd and Versailles was called Fernside Market. The owners were named Dan and May. It was one long block from Edison School and had a stead stream of us kids depleting their candy supply daily. (Photo to follow)

PlayBall! wishes to thank Clayton Case (Edison Indians) for this entry. Great work from another of our Island reporters to set the record straight.

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PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog is pleased to report that the Alameda Elks Club will return as the primary sponsor for Alameda Recreation & Park Department’s legendary youth baseball league in 2015. As all Park Rats know, support provided by the Elks dates back to the golden age of park league baseball when thousands of garden island kids proudly wore the Elks B.P.O.E. logo on their park t-shirt. Tom Curran, 1960’s vintage Franklin Eagle, recalls, “”We all thought B.P.O.E stood for Franklin – Best Park on Earth”.

Elks Trustee, David Hilton, recently confirmed to the Alameda Park League Advisory Committee that Elk generosity would provide $10,000 to the program this year. The t-shirt league’s return in 2014 enabled over 300 Alameda kids to play organized baseball free of charge under the watchful eye of the ARPD and a group of dedicated volunteers. As the great Mel Allen would say, “How about that?”

The Elks have also announced they will hold a special T-Shirt League Dinner Dance Fundraiser on June 5th at 7:00pm. The public is welcome to attend and hob-knob with the horned hoi-polloi. For more information on this gala event, see the attached flyer. Thank you, Alameda Elks!

Come and join the fun in support of the Alameda T-Shirt League!

Come and join the fun in support of the Alameda T-Shirt League!

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When Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum is on the mound, fans place large “K” placards on the walls of AT&T Park for every strikeout the two-time Cy Young winner posts. In our featured Midget League affair from 1970, Edison hurler Brad Speier had a similar following… sort of. Umpire Bob Jensen was posting one “Z” after another trying to stay awake in this one sided baseball affair.

Brad Speier stars in "The Longest Day" (Photo by Bordanaro and Zarcone)

Speier did get a solo “K” to go with 8 “BBs” allowed. And that was the good news. The bad news for his fellow Edison tribesmen was the 29 runs they allowed Washington to score. The Bucs went wild at the plate with 23 hits to compliment 15 free passes served up by the Warrior pitching staff. Things weren’t much better for the defense as they committed 5 errors. (43 baserunners and only 29 runs scored? Edison coach Barry Weiss must have been razzing the opposition for a clear lack of “hustle”!)

Washington’s perfect storm also included pitchers Doug McLair and John Mendoza combining on a no-hitter to backstop Robert Orbeta. In addition to their fine moundwork, McLair and Mendoza each slugged a home run, triple and double for the Pirates. But there were more fireworks that day as Larry Lopez knocked a triple, while Steve Ortega, John Childs, and Chuck Ojeda each added a double.

To be fair, we must acknowledge that Edison did draw a walk and another lonely Indian got to camp momentarily at first base following an unusual Pirate error. The fielder must have been snoozing along with umpire Jensen.

PlayBall! is taking donations to purchase a CPAP machine for Bob Jensen. And speaking of sleep, Washington catcher Robert Orbeta was so tired from the game he’s taken an afternoon nap every day for the past 40 years. You can find him under his desk at Alameda Municipal Power. As for Brad Speier… we love you man! Have a BudLite.

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Park Director

Tours of Duty: Edison (1978), Lincoln, Godfrey, Leydecker (1983)

Yes, Leydecker was an “expansion” park, but we’ll count it anyway.

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We’ve all heard the phrase “the tools of ignorance” applied to catcher’s gear. But never has “fashion plate” been applied in describing a catcher’s attire, although in the case of this photo, “fashionable behind the plate” would be most applicable.

Johnny Plaid and Swingin' Sato in '74 (Photo Acamar)

It must have been difficult for Colt batter Mark Sato to keep his eye on this pitch while catcher John Perata’s neon plaid pants were undulating in the background. As the immortal baseball announcer Harry Caray was fond of saying, “Holy Cow!”

Actually, the suave Longfellow backstop was not alone in his bold “Pumas and Plaid” ensemble. Our mid-1970’s photo archive is loaded with other GQ statements being made on the diamonds of Alameda. (Just wait till you see our photo of Chris “The Alameda Rifle” Speier and Giants teammate John D’Aquisto in their sport jackets while attending one of the annual ARPD Baseball Awards Banquets. Somebody call the fashion police!)

Unfortunately, we don’t know the outcome of this PeeWee League duel held at Lincoln Park. However, we do know that this photo graced the cover of the weekly PlayBall! supplement on August 13, 1974. Mr. Perata was also featured in two additional center spread photos! I guess that would make John the first PlayBall! Batterymate centerfold.

Oh, behave!

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If you were a fan of the original PlayBall! print edition, a reader of the old Alameda Times Star (“Ten cents worth more”), or have become a dedicated follower of this blog, the names Bordanaro and Zarcone should be very familiar!

Ed Bordanaro and Don Zarcone ran a photography service out of their studio in San Leandro. They covered everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, from weddings to various park leagues, ladies social luncheons to kindergarten class photos. I don’t know how, but they seemed to be everywhere. The two pro shutterbugs are even credited for an image that graced the pages of Sports Illustrated back in 1957. Kevin Kearney, former park rat and now Alameda City Auditor, talks about Ed and Don during an interview segment that appeared in PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga.

Their studio, that once occupied 644 E. 14th Street, is now gone. Along with it are the many thousands of original photos taken over the years… or are they? If anyone has a clue to what happened to Don and Ed, or the master works of Bordanaro and Zarcone, please drop us a line at: playball94501@gmail.com

In the meantime, here’s one of their ads from the 1968 Bishop O’Dowd High School yearbook. Yeah, I know… O’Dowd… yuck! (Check out the tube socks. Wonder if they were purchased at the Super 88 Store?)

1968 Advertisement for Bordanaro and Zarcone Photography

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