Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sam Spear’

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)

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

roger_alexander

The ARPD program has always been a model organization. Whether it was baseball, softball, basketball, flag football, arts & crafts, fishing derbies, camps, or sand castle contests, at the core of it all was community. I would argue that the parks were the single most important driver of community in Alameda’s post WWII history.

At the center of every activity was the park director. Paid recreation professionals who were trained in providing a great experience and coaching for every child who came to the parks. As Sam Spear said in his interview for PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Saga “It was inclusive”. The directors were trained to made it so.

One could also argue that every park director was legendary in their own right. Among the elite, was Audrey Elderts who could be spotted anywhere on the park property by her trademark floppy hat. In recent exchanges on Facebook, a number of West End kids fondly recalled Audrey as someone who made an impact on their lives. The photo above features Audrey at a Family Night Picnic in September 1975, accompanied by her equally legendary colleagues Roger Alexander and Chuck Higgins. The Contaxis family is shown toasting their ARPD hosts with some lemonade.

For a taste of community, please join us for the First Pitch Benefit Party at the Alameda Theatre on March 20. Roger Alexander will be there in all his legendary glory! Don’t miss out!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Mr. Peabody and Sherman visit Franklin Park in 1968

Hey, Franklin Eagles!

In case you missed today’s comment from Marty Watkins, give it a read. It was an instant return trip to Franklin Park 1968 on Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine! Nice job, Marty. I hope we see you and your sister Kim at the All-Parks Reunion. Speaking of which…

You won’t need Mr. Peabody or Sherman to take a trip back in time to those carefree days of being a kid in Alameda. A simpler time when all you had to worry about was leaving the park to get home in time for dinner. Come on down to the Alameda All-Parks Reunion and see your old pals, teammates and park directors. Our own Wayback Machine will be at Washington Park on Saturday, July 31 from 11:00 am  to 4:00 pm.

Don’t miss out!

Read Full Post »

Steve Taddei eyes Doug Wickman's pitch in 1974 (Photo: Acamar)

Taddei eyes Doug Wickman's pitch in 1974 (Photo: Acamar)

Shades of Jocko Conlan! Steve Taddei took his job seriously. He even dressed up for his summer career as an ARPD baseball umpire. I don’t recall seeing many park league barristers wearing a collared linen shirt, but obviously Steve brought some class to the ranks. Perhaps “Sam” Spear was trying to get his umpire crews a sponsorship from Arrow Shirts? Or maybe this was an alternative to wearing a bow tie, ala Conlan. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spear really did try to get his guys in a “teeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeye!”

The great HOF ump Jocko Conlan

The great HOF ump Jocko Conlan

Read Full Post »

Brian Cary was not just a Franklin Eagle player, he was also a dedicated park rat who, like many other kids that grew up in the ARPD program, also gave back to the community as he grew older.

Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

Photo credit: Bordanaro and Zarcone

Brian, shown here while umpiring a Bantam League game in 1970, grew up on San Jose Ave. just a Stargell home run away from Franklin Park. Most summer days he climbed aboard his red Murray bicycle with the high handlebars to make the short trip to the park. He played for the Eagles throughout his park career and was a graduate of the Sam Spear School of Umpiring enabling him to earn money calling park league games.

Later during high school, Brian applied his diamond skills playing varsity baseball for St. Joseph’s High School. During that time he was also a leader in the ARPD camp program (Hidden Cove, Trails End, Primitive Pack Trips). While attending College of Alameda, Cary once again went to work for the ARPD as a park director (Buena Vista and Godfrey) before ultimately joining the Alameda Police Department where he retired as sergeant a few years ago after a long career.

Today, Brian is in charge of security operations for Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Like some other park rats, he traded in his Louisville Slugger for a fishing pole, and now lives in the Sierras with his wife Paula (another native Alamedan).

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »