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April 2015

Its Baseball Season...Giants Open at Home on April 13th

Looking Back at Days Gone By
Whalen Irish Dancers a Smash Hit
he girls, and two boys, of the Whalen Irish Dance Group
stole the show again this year. These kids are simply
fantastic! Their precision tap dancing and dancing routines to
Irish jig tunes is truly amazing. I missed the show last year
and at first didnt think it was that big of a deal but after seeing the kids in action last month was a treat. Say what you
want about the dance routines of modern day groups but
these kids know about
stage presence, precision movement and the
ability to perform under
pressure. The boys, an
8-year old making his
first stage performance
and the other a 14 year
old high school freshmen were like a pair of
professional dancers as they danced in front of 100 men in
the audience. All told
there are about 16
girls and the two boys
in the troop that entertained us last month.
They perform all over
the area but according
to Jill Whalen the Old
Timers are the best
group they dance for.
The Whalen Dancers, precision routines.
And, pat your self on
the back Old Timers as we donated $500 towards the youngsters dance program. Nice going guys! And...Holy bejammers
did ya not
hear the
likes of the
Rich Murphy and
belted out
three Irish
ballads in a
truly proThe Rich Murphy Singers
LeTourneau Presented Tony Gomez Award
Past president John LeTourneau was presented the Tony
Gomez Award as the president for 2014. The award is given

John LeTourneau receiving the

Tony Gomez award.

to the out-going president for

his service to the Old Timers
Association. Tony was the
president in 1985 and is remembered as one of the finest
men ever to be in office.
The night wouldnt be complete if we didnt mention a
special thanks to our anonymous donor who provided a
bottle of wine to each table.
Apparently it happens every
year when March 10 falls on a
Tuesday. He isnt with us but
his memory lives on.

Board Meeting Notes

our Board of Directors has been doing a great deal of
work and new President Len Grilli is making his presence felt in many ways. Heres a few: Look for better raffle
prizes to be coming up. A guest speaker (s) program will be
initiated starting with next month whereby outside guests will
come in and speak to our group about baseball or related
sports events taking place in San Francisco. Mike LaCoss
and Jane Leavy went over so well that it prompted Len to
seek out other speakers for our meetings. And...the wearing
of badges is back in vogue or to put it more bluntly if you
arent wearing your name badge it will cost you a buck as in
One Dollar. Sergeant-at-Arms Joe Marino will be circulating the room at each meeting looking for any violators and if
you dont have your badge Joe will politely grab you by your
neck and squeeze a buck out of you. But seriously we are
doing this in the good faith of camaraderie so that when
youre talking to a member at the bar you will in fact know
the name of the person youre having a conversation with.
For many years the Association had this practice and it was
fun and just provided more enjoyment for all. So you better
have a your badge on at the April meeting. If you dont have
one or lost yours contact Gary Bader at 415-260-6027 and
he will get you another one. Reminder: the opening golf
event for the year is Monday April 13 at the Alameda GC.
Contact Rich Ford if you want to play. According to Bader,
membership is up 283 members and that means there are only
40 delinquent people. So Gary is reminding all to get your
$50 dues and dont be left out for the year. The Ardizoia/
Grider Scholarship awards will be presented at AT&T Park
on June 3. Coordinator Frank Brady has tickets to the Giants game for that day but they are going quickly. They cost
$35 and are located right behind the Giants bullpen down the
left field line. Very good seats, contact Frank if you want to
go. We have settled on the Irish Cultural Center to hold the

Board of Directors
Len Grilli
Vice President
John McCarthy
Ken Mooney
Rich Murphy
Gary Bader
Joe Marino
Frank Brady-Vince Belli
Bill DeMattei-Bob Fife
Rich Ford-Bob Hagler
Dave Longa-Con Maloney
Ray McDonald-Nick
PoppinCliff Righetti

Best wishes to the Old

Timers for 2015

Rich Blackburn
Art Citron - Nick Cannuli
Mel Canevaro - Brian Kearney
Don Dennehy - Al McCarthy
Dan Jacobsmeyer

75th Anniversary of the Association for next

year. The date will be March 22, 2016. More
details for this gala event will be forthcoming
in the next few months.
The awards dinner for Men-of-the-Year and
Ultimate Old Timer is set for Friday May 22 at
Nicks Rockaway Beach Restaurant. In addition to the new website we have at
we also can be reached at our site on Face
book. Thats been very interesting as many
new people have been hitting on our site. If you
have a computer check it out as we have several links connected that have interesting topics. And thank you to all the sponsors that have
returned for another year. Without your support our newsletter would not get printed and
mailed out every month. And thank you for
participating in this years Crab Feed. The Association netted $3,400 from the event which is
the high-water mark since we have been putting
it on.
On the mendTom Noonan Just had surgery
and is on the mend. So is Ernie Golding who
had surgery to fix some back problems. A card
would be a nice gesture to both.

directors and the Sees candy gift certificate he

made to the group. The bus trip to the Red
Hawk Casino went extremely well as more than
60 people attended the outing.

Bullpen Chatter
e would be remiss not to mention the
wonderful talk that Don Benedetti and
Pete Dalton gave last month at Past Presidents
Night. Both men spoke about what its like to
be a member of this group and how the camaraderie has kept
the group
going for all
these years.
your comments did not
fall on deaf
ears as many
of the men
have commented about
Actor Will Ferrell played nine
how you both
different positions for 10 teams.
spoke with
sincerity and from the heart.
In another situation of speaking from the heart
Marino Pieretti Group Notes
Dave Turnbull presented Rugger Ardizoia
how about our former Giants third baseman
with a ring Pablo Sandoval shooting his mouth off about
of basebeing slighted by Brian Sabian prior to the
season when his contract negotiations broke
signed by down before the season got underway. He says
all the men he knew then that he would not be returning to
in attenthe Giants. Get a life Sandoval, we got a real
dance at
ball player and a hell of a 3rd baseman in Cathe March sey McGhee. And talk about a great gesture,
comedian Will Ferrell Played for 10 teams in
one day in spring training last month. The 47
held at
year old man played all nine positions for each
of 10 teams as he traveled around the games to
Rockaway raise awareness for cancer in children. He
Beach Res- started out with the Giants behind the plate and
taurant. A surprised but thankful Rugger acthey intentionally walked the hitter. He then
cepted this nice gift from everyone as part of
got into a helicopter and flew to other fields of
his 94th birthday. The recipient for the Green games that were in progress. When it came
Jacket last month was
time for him to bat he worked the count to 2-2
long-time supporter
before striking out. The promotion took all day
as he played all the positions and even made a
Dave Mottesheard.
Dave just retired from
nice play in the outfield while playing for the
Amtrak after 44 years
As. All the teams went along with the promoof service. Organizer
tion and it was nice to see someone who potenDave Longa wishes to tially could have made a fool of himself come
thank Jim Griffin for
out looking good for a great cause. The day is
his gift of jackets to the supposed to be aired on the MLB channel.
Hanna Boys Center
Watch for it as he did himself OK.

Best Wishes
To All
San Francisco Old Timers
The Grider Family

Thanks Old Timers

Your Monthly Newsletter
Is a great Read.
Anonymous Donor

Alumni Of
George Petty
Clyde Krusinski
Ron Taylor
Sacred Heart
Bud Williams
Brian Kearney
Frank Williams Tom Taylor
Supports the Old Timers Association

On the baseball tickets I have for Giants

games there was a mistake on one of the
games. I listed Sunday Sept. 9 when it
should have been Sept. 20 against the
DBacks I also now have Wednesday
Aug. 12 against the Astros open.
Thanks for catching that mistake. I have
a couple of games open yet so if you
want to go call me.
Former Giants GM and Cleveland player
Al Rosen passed away in Palm Springs
last month
at age 91.
He was a
guest at our
Hot Stove
the past
three years
ands was
the only
player to be
named the
Al Rosen 1924-2015
MVP (1953)
and the Executive of the Year (1992 for
the Giants) in the history of the game
and probably will be the only one ever to
hold that distinction. Al was truly a
classy individual and it was an honor to
have met him and have several nice conversations about baseball with him.

Come on, if you can control the bat a

player should be able to punch hits back
to the thrower from 20 feet. And do you
know why the batting practice only lob
the ball over from about 55 feet or so?
Its because they have a lack of BP
pitchers and dont want to wear tout the
guys from throwing from the regular
mound distance. I wonder what Johnny
Alameda or Mike Bagdon would say
about that as both threw years of BP to
the Giants early on. One of the best
hitters he ever saw was Wade Boggs
because he hit down on the ball and
from that angle the bat going through the
hitting zone was in better position to
make contact. Many of todays hitters
tend to upper-cut the ball and in doing so
it puts the bat at a different angle and
reduces the area when the bat passes
through the zone. He demonstrated
what he was talking about and it makes a
great deal of sense to his theory on hitting. He had the opportunity to sit down
and talk about hitting with Ted Williams in the last year of his fabulous
career and he said it was almost spiritual
to listen to a man that absolutely was the
greatest hitter there ever was talk about
that part of the game. He had the opportunity to work with Hank Greenwald in
the radio booth and said without a question Greenwald was one of the finest
baseball announcers s there ever was. It
The Hot Stove Luncheons here in the
was really fun to hear these comments
desert had another great session last
from a player who didnt mind talking
month as the guest was former Dodger
about his sport for the enjoyment of the
star Giants announcer Ron Fairly who
audience. And he stuck around afterjoined us for a lively session talking
wards and signed autographs, and talked
about base- some more. Really a nice guy. We got
ball. He is to play against his USC team at USF and
a very
they killed us in 1958.
A Visit to John Wards World
person who
nytime John Ward says come over
to the house I want to show you
with lots of something you have to feel that hes got
something special. Such was the case
but one of when he invited me over the other day.
the things John who has the finest website on semithat I enpro baseball in the country, had a coljoyed was lection of scrapbooks from Arnie Banta
him disand Babe Tognottis family for me to
look at. The Banta book had old Zee
hitting and the simple things many of
cards of baseball players from the
todays players dont really understand. 1920s through the 1930s and they were
He talked about things like playing
in mint condition. Every player that
pepper games and how it helps with
played in the Major Leagues was picbat control. Todays players dont use
tured and it was interesting to see some
that game as a drill any more and he said of these faces in different angles that
in his opinion it really hurts their ability Ive never seen before. What was speto control the bat. Why dont they play cial treat seeing so many local San
pepper any more? Easy its a liability
Franciscans shown there of players that
risk in case a ball hits a fan at the park
were good and you didnt see them that

Vince Tudoni - Jim McCoy

Leo Martinez - Bill DeMatie
Jim OConnor
Skip McKinney
George Schnapp

The Tognotti books were more about a combination of the local semi-pro teams such as teams
from 1927 Funston Field era with box scores
and lots of pictures of old time players. Some
of the top ranked teams of the day back then
were the Funston Athletic Club, Gilt Edge Market and the Castro Native Sons all who played
in the 1930s.
Plus he had several news columns from the
great writer Bucky Walter, of the SF Examiner.
In one particular article he
writes about former Seals
favorite Gene Valla and it
was interesting how the
ball players back in the
day had such an impact
on youngsters. They were
really heros to kids of
that era not so much because they were the greatest ball players but just
because who they were. Just think if you were
a kid and met Gene Valla...that was something
else. And if you were a Coast League ball
player all the more special.
Bucky Walter was a native San Franciscan attending Lowell High School where he played
baseball. He covered the sports scene for more
than a half century for the San Francisco NewsCall Bulletin and the SF Examiner who died in
January 2003 at the age of 85. He projected the
image of the oldtime sports writer,
talking in sports
jargon, with a cigar hanging from
his mouth and his
shirt spotted with
food stains. His
writing was always fresh and
lively covering football, basketball and baseball. But baseball was his first love and it
showed in his stories about the old Seals and the
Giants and As. During the last 11 years of his
career he wrote the Evening Muse, a five day
weekly column for the Examiner. He started
out as a copy boy and after showing relentless
desire to become a writer he got his own column and wrote the Evening Muse. Heres are
few items from his Wednesday July 10, 1985
The Bay Area has produced more major league

first basemen than any other region in the country. Two of em are Hall of Famers: George
Kelly and Harry Heilman. The others are:
Dolph Camilli, Gus Suhr, Ferris Fain, Lew
Fonseca, Babe Dahlgren, Keith Hernandez
and Jim Gentile. There might have been another player who played in the middle 1990s
for Coach John Donahues Lowell team but his
name escapes me at the moment. And heres a
story that he heard while attending an Old Timers dinner way back then. At a divorce trial, the
judge asks a child whether he wants to live with
his mother. No she beats me, says the lad.
What, then how about living with your father?
continues the judge. No he beats me too,
Judge: Then whod you like to live with?
Child: With the Giants. They dont beat anybody. Probably true the Giants in the 1980s
were not too good a team.
Christiansen a Loyal Ranger's Fan
arvey Christian still going strong residing
in Surprise, AZ and is the resident
Texas Rangers fan who was honored in the local newspaper and You Tube for his devotion to
the Ranges ball club. He retired to Surprise in
1999, four years before the Rangers relocated
their spring
facilities to
Harvey was
a long-time
Giants fan
and became
a Rangers
holder in
2003. For years he
would travel to Scottsdale to see the Giants
during Spring training
but the hour long trip
both ways got to him so
the Ranger park which is
only minutes from his
house became more appealing. So he and a few
Pictured on top is Harveys cousin Rob, and
of his pals from where
Jerry Goose Gosland.
he lived started going to
Harv is sporting a nice
Rangers games and liked
Old Timers T-shirt. In
the bottom picture he has what they saw. Being a
on his Ranger Fan shirt.
former coach (USF and
Lincoln HS) and profes-

Congratulations to the S.F. Old

Timers Baseball Association
The Marino Pieretti Group
In memory of Dante Santora
Frank Strazzullo and Bob Tobener

sional player (3 years in the St. Louis Browns organization)

he appreciates hustling teams and the Rangers do just that.
During the regular season he watches most of their games on
television. His favorite player is Andre Beltre and he feels
that he (Beltre) is one of the finest infielders hes ever seen
play the game. Harvey used to teach kids to catch ground
balls with their bare hands and says that Beltre does the same
thing in practice. If you can catch bare-handed you can make
it easy with a glove. Harvey is also high on the Joey Gallo
band wagon, the Rangers top prospect. Once he learns the
strike zone hes going to be a good one, say Harv. Sounds
like the ole coach has something going down there.
Part Two: Jim Custodio's Trip Down SF Baseballs
Memory Lane.
he City ParksSan Francisco had maintained numerous playgrounds throughout the City many of which
had baseball fields. Many of the fields were pretty nice to
play on, but some offered a challenge. I can remember taking
a few bad hops where they hurt, or acquiring strawberries
on my legs by sliding on some of the hard fields. But, you
know what? We enjoyed every minute of those happy times
that we spent on those fields. For many of us baseball engulfed our young lives, and we were richly blessed to learn
teamwork, sportsmanship, and working toward a common
goal as we enjoyed the game. Much of what we learned we
carried through life.
The City afforded us the opportunity to play ball in a more
organized way, with not only fields, but park recreation directors (many of whom became our coaches) and the birth of
recreation leagues between parks throughout the city. My
first experience with Park Ball was at Bayview Park on 3rd
Street near Egbert Avenue (which bordered lettuce and carrot
fields). I first played for the Bayview Park & Rec director,
the affable Jack Mooney. I can remember going to play other
recreation teams at such places as Jackson Park (I can still
smell the nearby coffee factory, Rolph Park, Poterero Hill,
and Ocean View to name a few. My first out of town trip is
indelible in my memory. We walked several blocks, took a
bus to Mission Street and then took the 40 street car all the
way to San Mateo, where we played on a skin field and a
raised mound. I thought I was in baseball heaven! But there
was plenty of baseball left in my life.
By then it was on to Junior High. I was fortunate to play for a
very impressible coach (Je Oeschger) and ex. Major league
pitcher who happened to pitch the longest game in baseball
history . His unbelievable 26 inning record performance for
the Boston Braves still stands. How many kids got to play for
a major leaguer? Maybe it was just the kids from Portola Jr.
High? Another impressionable coach that I got to play for
about the time I started junior high was the well known and
highly respected Joe Gaggero Sr., at Portola Park (now named
Joe Gaggero Sr. Field). Joe was an icon in San Francisco as
a great baseball coach, motivator and umpire. During our
early teens our attention was diverted somewhat, but not totally, by our new found interest in chasing young girls in ad-

dition to fly balls. Sure we made time for them, but baseball
still consumed a big part of our life
Consumed by the Game
To many young boys City baseball was the consummate diversion that cultivated an interest and love that many of us
shared during those times. Im sure that many can recall the
energy and enthusiasm with which we played. We learned to
hustle and chatter (hey, better batter!) shouting encouragement to our teammates during games. I can still hear those
Humm Babies. That enthusiasm made us look forward to
every game, every practice, and every day at the park. It was
habitual during summers and weekends getting up bright and
early, packing a bag lunch and going to play ball at the park.
We would hang out there all day playing catch, playing pepper and choosing up sides to play games. Sometimes the park
directors would umpire for us, and often pitched BP and instructed us. After games we would play more games like
pickle and college. I spent so much time there that in the
summer I would get a very brown suntan. One park director
Bob Lefty Arata gave me a nickname that stuck with me for
lifeLittle Bear.
After spending the day at the park, what would we do when
we got home? You guessed it! In the evening we played
street ball with kids on our block and streets close by Hollister Street., where I lived. We even painted a diamond on our
street. It seemed that we couldnt get enough of the game,
there were many influences that stimulated our interest...
Influences of the Game
The earliest influences of baseball for me was my older
brother, Vince. He played Sandlot baseball for a neighborhood team called Precita Valley. I looked up to him and
wanted to be just like him. He could really smack the ball
and took the time to teach me. I watched him play games
primarily at Rolph Park at the edge of Precinct Valley and a
few times I got to be bat boy. That was my first influence,
but many would follow
In my youth we didnt have all of the distractions or the diversions that kids have today. We had baseball, .35 cent
movies, the SF Seals, the Oakland Oaks, old radios, sandlots
and parks. Today, kids have TVs iphones, ipads, computers,
video games and shopping malls to chase the skirts and
money to go on vacations.
Triple A professional ball in our cities stimulated our interest
and enjoyment of the game. We were in awe of the player
(our heroes really). To get to Seals Stadium, I took a mile
walk, a bus & street car. Sometimes we even rode free by
nipping a ride on the cow catcher of the street cars. Remember that?
We could get into a game for the price of a movie and sit in
the bleachers, or you pick up cushions after a game and earn a
free pass to the next game. Seals Stadium and Emeryville
Park in Oakland were intimate parks and a fans delight to
watch a game. For us the Coast League was big time baseball. We knew all the players back then even traded playing
cards. Many of us became New York fans primarily because many local players such as Joe DiMaggio, Frank

Crosetti, Jerry Coleman, Charlie Silvera, Billy Martin,

Bobby Brown and Gil McDougal to name a few who went
on to play for the Yankees. Our NY attention faded when
the Giants came to town in the late 50s and gave our baseball
lives a whole new dimension. I like to think that we all made
it to the Big Leagues! My fondest memories were at Seals
Stadium, watching a game like a bird! Sometimes my friend
and I didnt have enough for car fare and the game too, but
the trees outside the stadium, across the street, accommodated
us! Way over beyond the right field fence there was a raised
park with trees that overlooked the Stadium, We would pack
a lunch, climb a tall one where we could see a good portion of
the field, and we would stay perched there for the entire
game. It helped that my friends' dad lent us a war-time pair
of binoculars. I wish Norman Rockwell could have seen
those two happy boys. Sometimes we would even hitch hike
home. Yes, you could do it back then, and feel safeanother
example of the good old days. To enhance those days we
were able to experience and love the league play that San
Francisco provided us. To this day we still talk about those
times and the joy they brought
More Scholarship Donations
Many thanks to these men who made donations to the Ardizoia/Grider Scholarship program. Your generous donations
have taken the contributions to more than $4,100.
Dean Asimos
Joe Marino
Michael Corbyn,
Larry Nissin
Don Dennehy
Tony Ribera
Dennis Dickey
Bill Skalko
John Hentz
Tom Taylor
Larry Lawson
Old Timers Featured in Newspaper in 1991
Twenty four years ago this month the Old Timers were the
feature story in the
San Francisco Independent Journal. The
article was about
how the Old Timers
still met and partaked
in their greatest
lovebaseball. In
the pictures shown
here are Walter
Lister and Ralph
Kelly sitting down at
the Verdi Club while
the picture below
shows Al Davis and
Earl Carter sharing
the cooking duties
which was the normal
procedure in those
days. Another 24
years have passed and

we are still going strong. Lister, in the article spoke of how

he and twenty five others started the Association as a means
for ball players getting together discussing baseball. At the
time they started with 25 members and it quickly grew to
over 100 in a short time. So Lister and the first Board of Directors decided to put a limit on the number of people that
would be admitted. They choose 375 as the limit for membership and it stayed that way until only a few years ago
when membership got below that number and we decided to
take anyone who was interested in joining to become a member. Once that number was reached (375) there was a waiting list that some times took more than five years and the
only way a new member got in is when a current member
died. Lister admitted that he never thought the Association
would last his long . When we started in 1941, we had two
great explosions, Lister said in that article. One was Pearl
Harbor and the other was the start of the Old Timers. At that
time, we didnt think wed last five years.
Well weve gone another 24 years since the article in the
Journal and with the popularity we should go another 50
years with some luck. The newspaper article and long-time
newsletter was provided to us by Mike Simon and we thank
him for getting it to us to put into the archives of Old Timer
history. Ernie Golding was writing the newsletter in those
days and he still reminisces about those days of the Verdi
Club and men cooking the monthly dinners with KP duty and
other assignments for the monthly meetings.
Walter Lister was some sort of a ball player during his days,
as he pitched for close to 30 years and legend has it that he
won more than 1,000 games in the semi-pro days. That really
isnt too astonishing but still to win that many games you had
to be pretty damn good. As we approach our 75th anniversary as an Association please bring us anything that you have
tucked away about what we done through the years. Its
amazing what treasures about local baseball and the Old Timers have in common.
Blonde Guy StoryAn Irishman, a Mexican and a blonde
guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th
floor of a building. They were eating lunch and the Irish guy
says If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for
lunch Im going to jump off this building. The Mexican
opened his lunch box and exclaimed, Burritos again! If I get
Burritos one more time Im going to jump off too. The
blonde guy opens is lunch box and said if I get another bologna sandwich, Im jumping too The next day the Irishman
opened his lunch box and there was corned beef and cabbage,
and jumped to his death. The Mexican open his lunch box,
saw a burrito and jumped to his death as well. At the funeral,
the Irishmans wife was weeping. She said, If Id known
how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage , I never
would have given it to him again. The Mexicans wife also
wept and said, I could have given him taco enchiladas! I
didnt realize he hated Burritos so much. Everyone turned
and stared at the Blondes guys wife who says, Dont look
at me. He made his own lunch.
Holt & Collins

250 Montgomery Street

Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94104

Newsletter Editor: John McCarthy

To provide information call or email.
Cell Phone 209-470-1103