Athletes – Baseball – The best of the best

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THE BEST OF THE BEST
(Doc: Century baseball)

In Celebration of its 150 years of publishing, the Sentinel Selects Its All-time All-County baseball team. The talent pool was deep, the decisions tough, the task fun. By Jim Seimas.

In a letter to the editor called Sports Coverage Soars. Special thanks to Jim Seimas for all his personal time, diligently checking on the internet and by personal contact to verify information given to him and then taking the thankless task of choosing 40 players for the All-Sentinel Baseball Team. An impossible task even in as small an area as Santa Cruz County. This county has had an above average number of excellent athletes, baseball players and teams over the years. It is an impossible job to pick only 40 players out of all who deserve to be honored..

The only players listed here are the players who went to SC in alphabetic order.

Of the starting nine, three where from SC, Joe Brovia, Glenallen Hill and Darryl Ratliff. Soquel and Watsonville had two and SLV and Marello each had one.

The 40 man roster \included the following Cardinals listed by name, year gradated from school, plus a short note of their accomplishments from the Sentinel. Information added is enclosed with ( ) have been added from other information.

PITCHERS

Lauren Gagnier, 2003 RHP hurled a no-hitter in CCS in ‘02. Led Cards to CCS Division III crown in ‘03. Played three years at nationally ranked Fullerton State, helped win College World Series in ‘04. Briefly led nation in wins (10) in ‘06. Shined his final two years at SC, garnering All County honors. (Went on to pro ball with the Detroit Tiger organization and moved up the ladder to Triple A ball in 2009-10 as starter with an ERA of 3.40 in mid season of 2010.)

Dana Hendershott, 1967 Two-time all MBL pick with win percentage near 1.000 and ERA near 1.00. Named to University of San Francisco Hall of Fame. The ALL-American still has the USF career records for wins (22) and strike outs (299) from 1968-71. Was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 26th round, 601 pick overall of the 1971 June regular Phase. He went to pitch at the double A level in the Dodgers’ organization. (While Dana was pitching for the Connecticut Double A team, the owner told Dana, he thought Dana was at the end of the line pitching professionally. So Dana married the owners daughter and became an insurance executive instead. He is still at it in 2010.)

Stan Pillsbury, 1963 Senior LHP went 10-1 in ‘63, helping Cards win fourth straight CCAL title and inaugural Tournament of Champions. Had 13 strike outs in the championship game of the tournament. (Stan was pursued by a scout of the Los Angels Angles, who later was the general manager of the San Diego Padres. While Stan was pitching batting practice to catcher Mark Schultz, who was signed by the Angles out of high school, the scout liked how Stan’s ball moved and took a liking to him even though the reason he was there was to watch Mark. Stan decided to stay home and work with his dad. He did pitch a lot of softball games for a local traveling teams. Still pitching with movement)

Greg Press, 1989, Cabrillo 90, St.Mary’s 91-94. Drafted by Montreal Expos in 55 round, 1,332 overall in 1990 draft June Regular Phase. Free-agent signee with the Marlins, the RHP was named to the Midwest and Florida State League all-star games. Did so after having Tommy Jones arm surgery. He was a work horse with Cabrillo and an All-County pick as a high school senior. (2008 on, Gregg has been serving as the pitching coach at Harbor high for former Cardinal Joseph Allegri)

Kris Sorensen, 1969 The 6-foot-6 ace RHP was 8-0 in league as a senior with a 0.49 ERA and 12-0 for the season. Pitched in the state North-South All Star game at Candlestick Park. Pitched for San Jose State 1970-73 as a starter. Drafted by the Washington Senators in the 27 round, 622 overall of the 1969 draft June Regular Phase. Did not sign and went to San Jose State. After junior year signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and threw for three seasons in the minors reaching double A. (Arm injury in college, kept him from a possible major league opportunity. While getting ready for Spring training, Kris worked with the SC pitchers and team)

John Wilson, 1982. LHP hurled a no-hitter for Cabrillo in ‘84-85; San Francisco State 1986-87. John had a stellar career at San Francisco State. He holds the SFSU record for victories with a career 19 wins. He went 11-0 for SF State in ‘86, was named a Division II All American and was inducted into the SFSU Hall of Fame in 2002. Free-agent draftee, played in the Giants’ organization. Three time Sentinel All-County pick 1980-82 wasn’t overpowering, but a craftsman nonetheless. (Coached baseball and girls basketball at SC, taking both teams to CCS finals in both sports. Transferred to Soquel and took his girls teams to Northern Cal playoffs)

INFIELDERS

Steve Glass, 1983 Played hot corner and shortstop. San Francisco State 1984-87. Drafted by Atlanta Braves in 38th round, 954 overall of 1987 amateur entry draft June Regular Phase. Steve was a 6 foot 3 inch solid on defense as an infielder and swung a decent bat too. He still ranks second on SFS career home runs list with 21, third in RBI’s 97 and fifth in runs 111.

(Steve’s pro career ended with a knee injury. Atlanta offered him a coaching position in the their farm system, but he decided to teach teenagers instead. Now athletic director and coach at a San Francisco high school.)

OUTFIELDERS

Joe Brovia, 1940. Free-agent signee. He swung the big lumber like it was a toothpick. Known for his power, the 6 foot-4, 210 pound slugger had a lifetime .311 average in 1,805 minor league games (.304 lifetime in the Pacific Coast League) producing 1,846 hits, 1,144 RBIs and 214 home runs. Known for his prodigious home runs over the four-story high fence at Seals Stadium, called the “Green Monster” of the Coast League. One to center was estimated to have traveled 500-plus feet. A young Willie Mays is said to have remarked, “Man, that’s a $5 cab ride” when shown where the ball landed. Brovia was inducted into the PCL Hall of Fame in 2005. Not the fleetest afoot, nor a deft defensive player, he had a short stint with the Cincinnati Reds in 1955, but only batted as a pinch hitter. (Joe was very supportive of the local high school teams and was a baseball advocate)

Tom Crichton, 1968 Batted higher than .440 both years as an upperclassman and was the league leader in RBI‘s, while earning all-County honors. Varsity starter as a freshman, Signed out of high school by Kansas City Royals in 14th round 321st overall in 1968 amateur draft June Regular Phase. Named MVP of the Double-A Eastern League. Tom suffered a knee injury and ended up playing for the San Jose Bees. Played infield and outfield in high school and pros. (Tom spent time after playing professionally to help coach at SC, helping improve the program and the players)

Dee Herren, 1970 Cabrillo 71-72, Brigham Young University 1973-74.

Won the Coast Conference title with Cabrillo in ‘72 with a .442 batting average to earn conference All League honors as a centerfielder. Had good wheels and a strong arm.

Drafted in the third round 61st overall of 1971 January Regular Phase, but stayed in school, All-County selection in high school, (Herren currently is a PE instructor and coach at a high school in Washington. Previously while running the sports programs for the SC Recreation Department, helped coach the SC team for a long time)

Glenallen Hill, 1983. Drafted: Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round, number 219th player overall of the 1983 amateur draft, June Regular Phase. (He had a full ride scholarship to Arizona State in football and baseball to think about in his decision on what to do)

The 6-3, 230-pound outfielder became the National League’s first designated hitter during a ‘97 game with the Texas Rangers. Funny, because Hill was known for his bat. In his 13 year Major League career, Hill had a lifetime batting average of .271, hitting 186 home runs and driving in 586 runs. Currently the hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies’ Single-A affiliate Modesto Nuts and then took over as manager. Hill once smacked a home run onto an apartment rooftop beyond the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field when he was a Chicago Cub in 2000. Later that season he was traded to the New York Yankees, and helped them win the World Series. He batted .333 with 16 home runs and 29 RBI’s in 40 games with New York. He finished with a career-high 27 home runs for the season. (2010 Glennallen is the first base coach for the Colorado Rockies. The previous year he was the only coach rehired, which says a lot about how he is respected by the organization. In his time with the San Francisco Giants, he was known as a good person to have in the club house and he was in high school encouraging and helping teammates.)

Darryl Ratliff, 1988. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 5th round (122nd) overall of 1988 draft (June Regular Phase). The prototypical leadoff hitter had speed and made his mark on defense. He was an on base hitter. In ‘95, his sixth season in the Pirates’ organization, Ratliff batted .345 in Triple-A Calgary. He was demoted to Double-A ball in ‘96, while carrying a .368 average. Earlier in his career, Pittsburgh was a little stacked in the out-field with guys like Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke. Still, Ratliff was an athlete. That’s why he was selected 659 picks before future NFL and MLB talent Deion Sanders was taken by the Yankees. Too many power hitters at major-league level kept him from the show.

(Darryl has been an assistant coach at SC for over ten years and gives private batting lessens using the Pirate way. He has had students go on an play College and pro ball. Still at it in 2010.)

The MBL drafted started in 1965

A set of players, who were considered for the top 40, which was available, but not in the newspaper. Listed in alphabetic order of SC players considered by position, graduated from SC, colleges attended, year drafted, by what team, what round and in some cases the top league played in.

George Arnott, 2B, 1967, none, 1967, Pittsburg, 64

George Arnott Jr., C, 1993, Cabrillo, Gonzaga, 1997, Chicago, 30, A-

Bill Clemensen, P, 1933, San Jose State, MLB 1939, 1941, 1946

Bill Domhoff, C, 1983, Cabrillo/San Francisco State

Preston Dyson, P, 1972, Cabrillo

Rudy Escalante, C, 1980, Cabrillo/San Jose State, 83-84

Rod Fleming, SS, 1969, Cabrillo/Arizona, 1971, St. Louis

Chris George, P, 1998, Cypress JC/Hawaii, undrafted, signed with Giants, A+, Played in Italy

Gary Ghidinelli, C, 1969, San Jose State, 1970-72. Drafted in 31th round by Chicago

Steve Glass, SS, 1983, San Francisco State Hall of Fame, 1987, Atlanta, 38, A+

Ken Johnson, C, 1959, Cabrillo, 1961

Kyle Hartz, OF, 2004, San Jose State, De Anza J.C, Santa Clara U. Drafted by Kansas City in 37th round.

Don Keathley, C, 1986, Moorpark JC, Union College 90, 1990, Oakland, Cal League A+

Dale Lyster, C, 1969, Cabrillo, Sonoma State, 1972-73

Fred McPherson, P, 1959, Cabrillo, Utah State

Pat O’Brien, P, 1972, Cabrillo, San Jose State, 1975-76. AA Chattanooga and Spring Training with the Oakland A’s during the MBL strike. Threw one inning of scoreless ball in numerous games as a 40 year old. Received good press in the San Jose and San Francisco papers.

Pete Pappas, P/OF, 1964, Cabrillo 1966 and Pepperdine.

Travis Talbott, 2001, P, Cal as senior Pac 10 relief pitcher of the year, 2005, Florida, 14, A+

Dave Trybom, OF, 1967, Cabrillo/Cal Poly

Neil Walton, 2000, SS, Fullerton State, played in college world series, 2005, Tampa Bay, 16

(Len Noren, P, 1947, unfortunately was not included in this list. In high school he pitched numerous no-hitters and was the top hitter on the team. He played pro ball for over ten years reaching the Pacific Coast league, Triple A, the West Coasts equivalent to the major leagues,

the top league just under the majors. There were players in the league, who made as much money as the major leaguers were at the time and the league played seven game series. Lot less travel. Len ended up playing first base due to his hitting. He was a top Cardinal in football, basketball and baseball in his era)

Sentinel May 21, 2006

In deciding on the final roster, there were agonizing deletions of players who shined in High school or junior college and then for one reason or another stopped playing. One of the notable cuts was Gino Panelli, the All County MVP as a SC senior in 1983. (Gino is still playing hard ball with an over a thirty year old team with teammates much younger and as a catcher rather than a pitcher/infielder)

SC Names Turned In But Not Used In Sentinel Material

Many more players were turned in by coaches of little league on up, interested individuals, etc

List below are other top players, who went on to play in college. Many other top SC players are not included in any of this material, as the Sentinel had a difficult job of picking even the top 40 players, so they used college or pro competition as a dividing line. Many other county teams had top players, who were suggested, but receive no notice in this project taken on by the Sentinel, but were considered and dropped along the way to those listed above. This is understandable with so many good players available. This next list is other Cardinals, whose names were turned in to be considered, but were dropped along the way. To see other top Cardinals, check out the baseball section of each years summaries in this web site.

By year, name, position and where they went on to play after SC

1958 Reynold Christensen, P, San Jose City College

1959 Bruce Bettencourt, infield/outfield, UOP

1962 Al Mc Common, P/OF, Cabrillo, San Jose State

1962 Steve Smith, SS, Cal

1962 John Pierce, P, Oklahoma State

1963 Dave Netto, P, Stanford

1963 Mark Schultz, C, signed out of high school with Los Angeles Angels

1970 Marty Gilbert, OF, Cabrillo

1971 Gus Penniman, 1B, Washburn

1971 Casey Tefertiller, Sports writer San Francisco Examiner, Correspondent for Baseball publications, writer of books. For SC: score keeper, statistician, Trident sports writer.

1972 Mike Johnson, P/Of, Cabrillo, International University in San Diego, no longer has team

1972 Mike Ferrin, 1B, Cabrillo

1975 Keith Blew, C, Cabrillo

1976 Kevin Rains, P/OF, Cabrillo, Hayward State now CSU East Bay

1979 Dwayne Whitley, 1B, Cabrillo

1980 Greg Pacheco, OF, Cabrillo, San Francisco State

1981 Mike DiTano, P, Cabrillo. Assistant coach at SC since graduating from Cabrillo until 2009 when he moved to Cabrillo with SC coach Bob Kittle.

1983 Gino Panelli, P/Inf, Cabrillo, still playing with an over 25 team as a catcher

1983 David D’Esposito, P/OF, Cabrillo, San Francisco State

1985 Kevin Grindy, P, UC Davis, selected as the top pitcher in the league his sophomore year

Good Old Days Of SC Baseball. Roots of The Game Run Deep In the County

by Geoffrey Dunn.

Bud Beasley, a star on the 1929 SC team, later became a legendary coach at Reno high. He was a celebrated left handed pitcher for the Sacramento Solons and the Seattle Pilots of the PCL. (He continued to teach at the school into his later years. He and his wife also became foster parents)

Bill Clemensen, former top SC pitcher and athlete pitched briefly for the Pittsburg Pirated in the years surrounding World War II.

Many young SC men went off to fight during the war and when they returned, tried to reclaim their lost youth. A number of fine semi-pro teams sprung up locally in this era, most prominent being the SC Seahawks and Swiss Dairy. Some of the players were Louie Castagnola, Dick Fassio, Nig Tamagni, Johnny Reis and the brothers Fred and Paul Juhl.

People often talk about Glennallen Hill, who hit a home run over the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field in 2000, while playing for the Chicago Cubs. The ball landed atop an apartment rooftop across Waveland Ave. He was traded to the New York Yankees later that season and helped them win the World Series.

Davenport’s late great Joe Brovia, while playing for the SF Seals of the Pacific Coast League was known for his prodigious blasts at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. The same park the SF Giants played their first few years. He made tape-measure shots routine.

Joe was known as Jolton’ Joe or the ‘Davenport Destroyer’ was a product of SCHS.

Brovia was one of the most feared hitters in PCL history and was named to the All Time PCL team, based on his lifetime PCL batting average of .306 and 194 career home runs.

Finally at the age of 33, after 16 years in professional baseball, Brovia got his chance at the major leagues, when the Cincinnati Red called him up for a cup of coffee in the middle of the 1955 season. Joe collected a couple of singles in 18 pinch hit appearances.

“SC has always been a great baseball town,” Brovia said before his death in 1994. “When I grew up here, that’s all we could think about: baseball, baseball, baseball. It’s a great game.”

(There were a few summers when the high school summer team played against the local semi-pro team. And Joe would get upset at the pitchers for not throwing the ball over the plate, so he could hit one. They didn’t want to watch the ball go out of Harvey West.)

(During the wood bat era, the SC coach would nail and tape the broken bats together to use for batting practice. His wife Roberta regularly sewed patches over holes in the baseball pants.

“We didn’t look like the best, but the team played like the best.” as the 1963 team won the CCAL championship and the Tournament of Champions in San Rafael as a prelude to the startof section championships.)

SC BASEBALL PLAYERS DRAFTED FROM 2001-2010

By year, round, overall pick, name, position, last school played for and club that picked them

By JIM SEIMAS

2002 23, 697, Neil Walton, shortstop and pitcher and Giants

2004 37, 1,105, Kyle Hartz, right-field, De Anza College and Royals

2005 14, 428, Travis Talbott, pitcher, Cal, and Marlins

16, 478, Neil Walton, shortstop, CSU Fullerton and Devil Rays

2006 10, 282, Lauren Gagnier, pitcher, CSU Fullerton and Tigers

2009 14, 423, Drew Gagnier, pitcher, University of Oregon, Athletics

2010 17, 523, Drew Gagnier, pitcher, University of Oregon,

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