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The legend of Bob “Rocko” Rhodes, who by the way remains an Alameda fixture, started back in his youthful days with the ARPD. Bob began in the department’s employ as an umpire following graduation from the Sam Spear School of Umpiring in 1972. After two years on the circuit, Bob upped his game and paycheck by joining the ranks of the hallowed ARPD park directors. Many also recall Bob as the proprietor of “Rocko’s” on Park Street, a friendly establishment where he dispensed a weekly sermon from his watering hole pulpit to many former park rats.

Tours of Duty: Rittler (1973), Lincoln (1974), Krusi (1975) , Longfellow (1976), Woodstock (1977)

In July of 1974, Norm Fenk was shown marking down yet another run for the McKinley Bears as they stormed past the Woodstock Dolphins by a score of 21 to 2. This was McKinley’s first win of the season (1-3) while Woodstock’s second squad fell to 0-3.

Bears teammate Jaime Hayame correctly answered this week’s Who am I? puzzler by identifying Norm. Perhaps Jaime can remind us who the McKinley coach was that season.

"I may run out of pencil lead!"

“I may run out of pencil lead!”

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.

 

Rich Bullock, Sr.

Park Director

Rich Bullock, Sr. was the Director at Lincoln when Tom “Sam” Spear made his legendary catch as a Lion outfielder. After his directing days, Rich settled down to produce his own nest of park rats and accomplished athletes. Rich was also very active in community events, including the successful “Save Edison Playground” movement. Neighborhood kids who proudly wore the Edison Indians colors went door-to-door gathering signatures to petition City powers that the Edison School playground continue as part of the recreation and parks program. They won the day!

A nice body of work Rich, worthy of consideration for the Alameda Park Rat Hall of Fame!

Tours of Duty: Lincoln (1958)

No photo available at this time… check the scrapbooks!

Jackie Robinson needs no introduction to the readers of PlayBall! Alameda’s Sandlot Blog. Number 42 will always have a place of honor in the hallowed Park Rat Hall of Fame.

Young Jackie Robinson as an 18 year old shortstop for Pasadena Junior College

Young Jackie Robinson as an 18 year old shortstop for Pasadena Junior College

Thank you, Jack. Alameda Park Rats everywhere salute you!

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Emergency crew members from the Alameda Fire Department called it a miracle. Times Star photographer Acamar said it was the luckiest shot he’d ever captured. All this when an Alameda youth accidentally fell from a small Cessna aircraft that had just taken off from the Oakland Airport only minutes before. Tumbling some two-hundred feet, the boy, identified as Danny Esparza, made a perfect feet-first landing on top of the backstop of Krusi Park Diamond #1. The photographer caught the action just as the boy hit the backstop.

The sturdy steel material acted as a trampoline of sorts breaking Esparza’s fall while springing him back up in the air with a baseball that had become wedged in the wire mesh. Danny landed on the infield and returned the ball into play, receiving a roar of approval from both teams and the dozen people watching the Midget League game.

Danny Esparza retrieves a foul ball from one of the Krusi Park backstops.

Danny Esparza retrieves a foul ball from one of the Krusi Park backstops.

Of course it’s a true story! You read it on the Internet didn’t you?

Tensions are escalating between Alameda and Beijingover reported spying.

Tensions are escalating between Alameda and Beijing over reported spying.

The staff of PlayBall! Alameda’s Sandlot Blog are on high alert today after discovering that viewers in Hong Kong have been following this digital fish wrap for some time. Yes fellow park rats, Chinese knock-off manufacturers may be out to copy another piece of American greatness… Alameda’s legendary park league baseball!! Recent blog analytics show growing viewer activity originating from Hong Kong.

Philip Nitskopip, Assistant to the Associate Undersecretary of National Security told a gathering press at the Time Star Building, “We are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds. President Obama, the Joint Chiefs and Lil’ Arnerich have been briefed.”

In a recorded interview on Meet The Press, PlayBall! Minister of Bunting and Defense, John Canalin, said, “It’s an outrage! I’ve assembled teams of Longfellow Black-Ops Tigers and Woodstock Seals who at this very moment are headed towards the China Sea. We’re waiting for word from McGee’s… I mean the White House as to our next steps. God bless Alameda!”