Posts Tagged ‘Krusi Park’

bbb_Webster tells us the definition of legend is “a person or thing that inspires.” Great coaches and teachers inspire. Great friends inspire. I can think of no one who inspired more kids on the field and in the classroom than Barry Weiss. When I think of someone who inspired his friends, Bob “Rocko” Rhodes easily comes to mind. Both were giants in life who’s legend lives on even though they are no longer here on earth.

Once again, Alamedans are coming together to honor the memory of those who have touched us. I am pleased to announce that an effort is currently underway for the installation of two memorial benches installed at Krusi Park in honor of both Barry and Bob. The call is going out to all current and former Alameda park families for donations in any amount as we try to raise $4,000 to make this lasting tribute a reality. Funds raised will cover the cost of two benches, memorial plaques, and installation at Krusi Park.

Barry was instrumental in my life as a breakthrough teacher demonstrating how learning could be fun and hard work paid dividends as a player and student. Rocko showed me how to use personality to make people’s lives richer. I am just one of the countless park rats and Alamedans who experienced similar with both of these legends.

Help bring Barry’s famous quote, “Parks make life better” to life by joining Adrienne Alexander, Ann Keltner Weiss, Steve Cressy, Don Ratto, the Alameda Recreation & Park Dept. and PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog in this worthy effort. Please make a contribution today. Send checks payable to Friends of the Park (with notation: Krusi Memorial Bench) to 2226 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda, CA 94501.

Thank you!


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ARPD baseball was in full swing when Rittler met Edison for a mid-July 1975 contest. We have no idea who prevailed but we know the Wildcats were threatening to score in this photo. When the camera shutter clicked, the Rittler batter, “Bomber Bob” Levering, had just connected with the pitch. You can see the ball below the Krusi Diamond designation (3) on the far left. There must have been less than two outs as savvy baserunner Robert Abriol is waiting to see if the baseball gets through the infield before attempting to score. Edison’s Greg Folrath is shown toiling behind the plate.

Park Rat Question of the Day: Is that Pat “Elfie” Thomas watching the action from behind the backstop? Only the Krusi Park faithful know for sure.


Bomber Bob Levering puts the orb in play.

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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)

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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?

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Over the years, Krusi Park was the home of many championship baseball and softball teams in the ARPD Park League program. The summer of 1970 produced one of the best, as the Midget Colts powered their way to an undefeated 11-0 season to capture the crown!

The Krusi sluggers took time out from their East End celebration schedule to pose for this classic photo.

The Mighty Midget Colts show off their lumber in 1970.

The Mighty Midget Colts show off their lumber in 1970.

Left to right are, Steve Ratto, Dean Pugh, Gary Berti, Mike Long, Tony Muzio, Charlie Niederbrach, Kerry Billingsley, Steve Jackson, Bert Soffiotto, and coach, Al Thomas. Missing that day were Mike Cooper, Pat Morse, Leroy Thomas and Bob Morton, all of whom were called up to play for the A’s in a doubleheader at the Oakland Coliseum.

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Can you guess which members of the 1968 Krusi Colt Little Coast Championship Team will be at the Alameda Theatre on Thursday, March 20?

Join us for a night of fun and great memories from the golden age of Alameda’s park leagues. For just $10.00 you will not only get to catch up with park friends, rub elbows with former major leaguers Vida Blue and Erik Schullstrom, and see some of PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga on the big screen, the ticket price goes directly to the new ARPD baseball league. 100%!

Order your tickets online at www.alamedatheatres.com or visit the box office. Don’t wait. Do it today!

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Park Rat and Park Director

The flashy Franklin Eagle shortstop went on to become a become a park director.

Tours of Duty: Krusi (1984-85)

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