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Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln Lions’

Today was a glorious day on the Garden Isle of Alameda and not just because of the weather! The sun was shining and the cry of “Play Ball!” was once again heard on city baseball diamonds as the new ARPD Youth Baseball League hit the field. Opening Day saw a new generation of kids playing ball in the park just as thousands of kids before them during the Golden Age of park league baseball.

A full compliment of young boys and girls decked out in brand new park league t-shirts were all smiles as the games got under way across Alameda. The crack of the bat brought grins not only to the players but also to those on hand. Cheers went up from the stands as the kids made one great play after another.

Members of the Park League Advisory Committee were on hand at Lincoln Park for the ceremonial start of the 2014 season. Along with the Dean of Alameda baseball, A.J. Lil Arnerich, were committee members Kevin Kennedy, Eric Cross, Adrienne Chaix, Cyndi LaCroix, and Kin Robles. ARPD chief, Amy Wooldridge was all smiles (and sighs of relief) as play got underway for the inaugural season. Rich Bullock Sr., former Lincoln Park Director, called the game as a volunteer umpire. Former park rats Mike Taylor (Lincoln) and Brett Pedersen (Krusi) came down to watch the action.

A young Lincoln Lion prepares to get his first hit of what will be a long t-shirt league career.

A young Lincoln Lion prepares to get his first hit of what will be a long t-shirt league career.

Thanks to everyone who had a hand in bringing back this Alameda institution. Your generosity and belief in the youth program, that to this day still defines a community, made the return of the t-shirt league possible.

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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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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!

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The great “Sammy” Spear should not only be known as a great handicapper of the ponies, he’s also dean emeritus of the ARPD’s original Umpire School. Older kids who wanted to earn summer time cash could participate in the Boys Baseball Umpire Program. Upon graduation from Spear’s comprehensive four-week training camp, the freshly minted umpires would take to the diamond highly qualified to call balls, strikes, balks, the infield fly rule, and everything else under the baseball sun.

Tom Spear, as he was known at birth, was the original statistics guru. A true student of the game, he dazzled his fellow Lincoln Park rats with unprecedented baseball knowledge. Lil’ Arnerich knew he’d found his professor of umpiring in Sam Spear.

Professor Spear lectures his umpire class of 1974. Looks like he commandeered the City Council chambers for this session.

Professor Spear lectures his umpire class of 1974. Looks like he commandeered the City Council chambers for this session.

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Park Rat and Park Director

A Lincoln Lions player (1954-60) who moved up after Little Coast and Police League to the ranks of park director.

Tours of Duty: McKinley (1960-61)

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Park Rat and Park Director

When Janice retired from park league softball for the Lincoln Lions she moved on to supervising park rats as a director.

Tours of Duty: Krusi, Rittler

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Roster moves fresh off the police radio.

“Attention all units… Be on the lookout for the following six park rats who all played in the 1968 ARPD Police League. They are believed to be armed with hickory clubs and cowhide projectiles. They are considered to be dangerous on the diamond. Use extreme caution when approaching and do not attempt to apprehend without back up from a park director.”

[Note: Shown next to the player’s name and park affiliation we’ve also listed the local business that sponsored the individual park’s Police League entries back in the day. – Editor]

Don Callahan – Washington (Fosters Freeze)

Eric Cross – Washington (Fosters Freeze)

Pat Dillon – McKinley (Island Jewelers)

Harold Silva – Lincoln (Alameda Muffler Service)

Mike Wenzel – Washington (Fosters Freeze)

Bill Yarbrough – Washington (Fosters Freeze)

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