Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Past Presidents of the Old Timers Association

Now that Bob Simi has become the 68th president of the Old Timers let’s look back and see who the other 67 were. The Association started in 1941 and Al Erle was the driving force behind the organization of this and the Oakland Old Timers. There have been two sets of fathers/sons to hold office, Tony Patch and Tony Patch Jr., plus Phil “Goose” Gosland and son Jerry. Rugger Ardizoia is the oldest living president and right behind him is Art Dikas, or visa versa whomever you talk to. Here is the complete list:
1941—Al Erle 1975—Al Lera
1942—Ed Kenna 1976—Vin Greely
1943—Marty Drury 1977—Joe Dutto
1944—Bill Haak 1978— Bill Tandy
1945—Otto Olson 1979—Bill Corbett
1946—Dan Collins 1980—George Roza
1947—Frank Ratto 1981—Joe Gaggero, Jr.
1948—Al Harman 1982—George Carey
1949—Heine Schwerin 1983—Ernie Golding
1950—Babe Pierotti 1984—Phil Stolz
1951—Jack Smith 1985—Dino Restelli
1952—Walt Leonhardt 1986—Pete Dalton
1953—George Stanton 1987—Don Benedetti
1954—Jack Kavanaugh 1988—Leo Martinez
1955—Al Schumaker 1989—Al Graf
1956—Bert Leroux 1990—Jack Gustafson
1957—Merev Silva 1991—Morey Chrisman
1958—Bill Nunes 1992—Don Mouhouey
1959—Hank Foge 1993—Jim Griffin
1960—Marty McQuinn 1994—Gary Bader
1961—Walter Lister 1995—Tom Doonan
1962—Ton Patch, Sr. 1996—Bob Lagomarsino
1963—Rugger Ardizoia 1997—Dave Longa
1964—Bill O’Brien 1998—Bill Jones
1965—Tony Gomez 1999—Tony Patch, Jr.
1966—Bob Preston 2000—Rich Ford
1967—Goose Gosland 2001—Manny Pirano
1968—Andy Durmanich 2002—Don Collopy
1969—Art Dikas 2003—Nick Cannuli
1970—Walt Spaelti 2004—Hank Baron
1971—Terry Tatarian 2005—Jerry Gosland
1972—Gene Gaviglio 2006—Woody Woodall
1973—George Jarvis 2007—Mike Reyna
1974—Irv Delman 2008—Bob Isola

Where Did the Term Sandlot Ball Come From?

From the book “The Golden Game, The Story of California Baseball” the term “sand lot ball” came about in the 1860’s. San Francisco ball players in this era liked to practice and play games in what is now the Civic Center area. Once hilly and rolling, it was a cemetery during the Gold Rush until the city flattened the land and removed the gravestones. Baseballers quickly gravitated to this empty sandy lot and the area become identified with the game that city residents began referring to ballplayers as “sandlotters ”guys who played “sandlot ball”. The term grew into widespread use and has since become an indelible part of the language of the game. Thus the term Sand Lot Ball was born and used ever since when referring to baseball played in San Francisco. What was the first fenced ball park in the West? That too happened in San Francisco as Recreation Grounds was built in 1968 in the Mission District at that time was the Irish section of the City. It was the first ball park in the state with a fence around it. The park opened on Thanksgiving Day for a game between the SF Eagles and the Wide Awakes of Oakland. The term Wide Awakes referred to men who got up early to play ball before going to their jobs. The Eagles won the game played before 3,000 spectators and the rivalry was started between Oakland and the City. Not much is known about the fence and how it was constructed but legend has it that it had knot holes and spaces between the boards wide enough for children to peer through to see the games. Thus they became members of the first California knothole gang.