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Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln Park’

They say the best jobs are the ones that don’t feel like work. For example, take the Alameda Recreation & Park Department offering teens the chance to earn summer cash as umpires for the program’s youth baseball games. Most of the takers were teens who were ballplayers themselves from the ranks of the ARPD’s Police League and local high school teams. When not playing ball, these guys were hanging out at the park. Why not get paid to be where you would be anyway? What a deal!

Shown in this photo from 1975 is Franklin Eagle and St. Joseph’s HS standout, Tom Lyons.  Tom, a.k.a. “Mr. Excitement” in later years, would earn his money this day officiating a PeeWee League tilt between Lincoln and Rittler.  Alas, Cub pitcher Johnny Perata – shown here – and his Lincoln teammates would lose their home game to the Bobcats by the score of 15-7.

perata_lyons

Pitcher Johnny Perata sporting his Raider knit cap on a summer day.

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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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Jim was a park director for ARPD before moving on to work in the City of Oakland recreation program. He’s also the father of Edison Indian Greg Battersby,

Tours of Duty: Lincoln 

Jim Battersby today.

Jim Battersby today.

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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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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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