The Year Was


Playing with the Lodi Dodgers in the California League, outfielder Max Venable (Cordova) knocked in 101 runs batting out of the leadoff spot. He also hit .318, scored 134 runs and had 30 doubles, nine triples and 17 home runs.


Diminutive left-hander Eddie Delzer (Sacramento City) led CSU-Fullerton to the College World Series title and was named to the all-tournament team along with a sophomore named Barry Bonds from Arizona State.


Cuno Barragan (Sacramento) was a member of the Idaho Falls Russets of the Class-C Pioneer League that went 66-64. On that team were pitchers Del Bandy (Folsom, Sacramento JC, Sacramento State) and Johnny Briggs (Folsom) and position players Al Anicich (Christian Brothers), Curtis Schmidt (Sacramento, Sacramento JC) and Joe Borich (Christian Brothers.) They were 21, 23, 19, 22, 35 and 32 years old, respectively.


Jermaine Dye (Will C. Wood, Cosumnes River) received the Babe Ruth Award given annually to the player with the best performance in the post-season.


Sacramento River Cats first base coach Brian McArn (Davis, American River) was replaced by the “The Chicken.” McArn was back at work the next inning.


Lefty Fred Besana (Lincoln, Placer JC) went 10-3 with Amarillo and always asked to have Johnny McNamara (Christian Brothers, Sacramento JC) behind the plate.


Rowland Office (McClatchy) had a 29-game hitting streak with the Atlanta Braves. In the 35 games before the streak, his average was .207. He finished the season at .281.


Right-handed pitcher Manny Salvo (Sacramento) led the National League in shutouts with five for the Boston Bees. He was 10-9 and his 3.08 ERA was sixth-best in the league.


Florida Marlins pitcher Randy Veres (Cordova, Sacramento City) had to go on the disabled list. The right-hander injured his hand after pounding on his hotel-room wall trying to get the people in the next room to quiet down.


Bob Reece (Cordova) caught all 145 Florida State League games for West Palm Beach. The next year in Denver, he caught 43 consecutive American Association games before getting a day off.


The Carmichael Elks (31-1) won the Palomino World Series in Greensboro, N.C. with a team that sent Dave Berg (Roseville) to the major leagues and Robert Dodd (River City), Dave Matranga (Jesuit), Jim Henry (Placer), Chris Wallgren (Placer) and Donnie Meyers (Oakmont) to the minor leagues. All six went to Sacramento City College.


Infielder Bob Heise (Vacaville) played in four games for the World Series Champion Miracle Mets.


Joe Gedeon (Sacramento) was due to arrive for his first major-league training camp in Charlottesville, Va., Washington Senators manager Clark Griffith sent player/coach Germany Schaefer to meet the youngster at the train station. But during the night a snowstorm blanketed the area in white powder. Gedeon, who had a strong affinity for the California climate, had never seen snow in his life and refused to get off the train. According to SABR (Society for American Baseball Research), Gedeon was said to have shouted at a shivering Schaefer, “I ain’t getting off in a blizzard for nobody” as the train rolled through the station. Gedeon returned a week later when the snow melted.


While playing for the St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A team in Tulsa, Leon Lee (Grant) was in the bullpen before a game. He was commenting on how fast teammates Jerry Mumphrey and Larry Herndon were at running the bases. Suddenly, Lee hears a voice from behind him say: “Fast, you want to talk about fast.”

The voice was Hall of Famer Satchel Paige. Lee said the Negro League legend went on to tell the story of Cool Pappa Bell. “He once hit a ball up the middle and was so fast that the ball hit him when he slid into second base. Now, that’s fast.”


After Hal Perry (Grant) retired from baseball, he became a world-class shuffleboard player to go along with his world-class sense of humor.

“After my playing days in the minors and in the Sacramento leagues, I moved to Texas and figured to become a world-class drinker,” Perry said in a 2016 interview.

“While I was concentrating on my drinking, I found out I had a knack for the game. I was soon beating everyone in every bar around and making good money doing it.”

When asked how many titles and trophies he’s won in his career, Perry replied, “I don’t play for no trophies, I play for the money.”


Pawtucket knuckle-balling right-hander Charlie Zink (Oak Ridge, Sacramento City) was named International League Pitcher of the Year.


Dave Torgerson (Johnson, Sacramento City), who was inducted into the LaSalle Club Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010, hit the last home run at Edmonds Field while playing for Fort Sutter American Legion.


Former major leaguer Tommy Glaviano (Sacramento) was the manager of the Elk Grove club that won the Sacramento County League title, beating the Lodi Guild Wines 2-1 at Edmonds Field. The skipper was at third base, Richie Myers (Elk Grove) at shortstop, Joe Kirrene (Christian Brothers) in left field, Jim McKeegan (Sacramento) in right field, Jim Sady (Grant) behind the dish and Buzz Berriesford (Sacramento, Sacramento JC) on the mound.


Randy Brown (McClatchy, Sacramento City) was pitching for the West Palm Beach Expos in the Florida State League when he gave up a home run to a Daytona Beach batter. He was then ordered by Expos’ manager Bobby Malkmus to hit the next batter.

When the batter stepped into the batters’ box it was his lifelong friend Gene Sackett (McClatchy, Sacramento City.)  Not wanting to let down his manager or injure his friend, Brown just missed with four inside pitches.

The two had a good laugh at dinner that night. Before the evening was over, Brown mentioned to Sacketthe was $50  lighter in the wallet for not hitting him.

The next day, Sackett approached Malkmus and told him that he and Brown were childhood friends and that’s why  he didn’t hit him. He convinced the Expos’ skipper to reimburse Brown 50 bucks. “When you’re making $650 dollars a month, $50 is a lot of money,” Sackett said.