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History > LaSalle Club Hall of Fame

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La Salle Club
Baseball Hall of Fame
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Christian Brothers High School
Jack Witry Field House
5 pm Cocktails
6:30 pm Dinner

For more Information:
http://www.thelasalleclub.com/the-baseball-hall-of-fame.html

2/22/15

La Salle Club Inducts 9 in Sacramento’s Baseball Hall of Fame

by editor Rick Cabral

The La Salle Club last night welcomed nine new members to its famed hall in the 61st Annual event held at Christian Brothers High School.

Highlights were many, but here are a few that resonated with this scribe: 

-        Joe Viega (Sacramento High 1950), the oldest member there last night, took longer to reach the podium than his speech;

-        Randy Zanze (Bishop Armstrong 1968), who grew up around and played Babe Ruth and American Legion at McKinley Park in the ‘60s, recalled how the family business (Zanze Bakery) closed on Tuesday, which meant dinner at the grandparents and later watching “Red Skeleton” he said doing a great impersonation of Grandpa Zanze; 

-        Gregory Orr (Kennedy High 1969/Sacramento City College 1971) the longtime Yankees scout (33 years and counting) reminisced about the great talent he played with and against in Sacramento helped to forge his barometer for future major league talent. Orr also won the award for dropping the most names in his acceptance speech, wisely including some of his fellow inductees among the litany;

-        Manuel Perry, (McClatchy 1949/Sacramento City College 1950) best known for winning the state Legion title in 1981 with his Kennedy-Valley team featuring future pros LaVel Freeman and Greg Vaughn, told the story of how on championship day in a city recreation league, he and a pal busted out star pitcher “Ducky” Knezovich from Holy Angels third grade class after obtaining the nun’s blessing;

-        Don Lyle (Sacramento High 1972/Cosumnes River 1973) who stole the show with his funny anecdote about the time working in Grodin’s mens wear store in the 1978 off-season during his stint in the Cincinnati organization, and how he sold Reds new manager John McNamara (Christian Brothers /Sac City 1951) a velvet, James Bond-style jacket that so impressed him, he later bought one for himself, which he wore to the Reds spring banquet where he picked up the award for Cincinnati’s minor league player of the year—from Johnny Mac;

-        Harry Dunlop (Sacramento High 1951) who accepted the award posthumously for old friend and former MLB skipper (and Sacramento Solons player/manager) Joe Gordon, one of the all-time greatest New York Yankees;

-        Other inductees included Eddie Cervantes (Hiram Johnson 1969/Sac City 1971); Leon Brown (Grant 1966), and Jerry Manuel (Cordova High 1972).  

Seen in the crowd at last night’s event: the Lee brothers Leron (he’s the one in the baseball cap) and Leon Lee who played on those great Grant High teams from the '60s and early '70s; Ken Hottman, Bob Matthews, Burt Bonomi, Nick Piacentini, Joe Soto, Al Simas Jr., et.al. who all played for Del Bandy’s great Sac City College teams of the '60s, posing for a group shot with the old coach and friends; Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen and wife Amber who displayed remarkable stamina to attend the soiree after yesterday’s double-header victory against Portland U; former committee chairman Jim Westlake (or “Little Jim” as he is called by older cousin Wally Westlake, the former major leaguer); Pete Mikacich who we understand recently redecorated his Limelight Bar & Grill with historic baseball photos and memorabilia; Gus Stathos, who for the first time attended without good friend Ron King, dean of scouts, who is still recovering from a health issue; and Sacramento baseball historians Alan O’Connor and Tom Crisp sitting alongside raconteur Walt Fitzpatrick, who may hold the most fascinating biography of all of ‘em. 

 2015_HOF_Ramirez_Group

L-R: Ken Hottman, Don Murphy, Nick Piacentini, Bob Matthews, Tom Ramirez,
Burt Bonomi, SCC coach Del Bandy, Al Simas Jr., Joe Soto. Photo courtesy of Tom Ramirez.


This event, started in 1938 and held at tiny Southside Park Club House as a way to honor bush league teams from the greater Sacramento area, eventually came under the purview of the La Salle Club—the booster club for Christian Brothers High—which inducted former Solons manager John “Buddy” Ryan as its first HOF member in 1953.

More than 500 since have been inducted in “Sacramento’s Baseball Hall of Fame,” and the event is now held in the newly renamed “Jack Witry Field House” to honor Christian Brothers High’s long-time basketball coach and school administrator. 

Selection Committee Chairman Joe McNamara (nephew of Johnny McNamara), now in his third year at the helm, has the party rollin’ right along.

 2015 Inductees


Leon Brown

Former Grant High outfielder was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1966. He spent 13 years in professional baseball including the 1976 season with the New York Mets where he had 74 plate appearances in 64 games and hit .214. He currently resides in Arizona where he stays busy with other former major league players, teaching and coaching youth baseball.  

Eddie Cervantes

Eddie was a right-handed infielder who was a standout at Johnson High School and Sacramento City College. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1971 and spent two seasons with the organization. He spent five more seasons in the minors before journeying south to the Mexican League where he played for six more years. His professional baseball batting average, over 13 years, was .297.  He is currently the baseball coach at Inderkum High School.

Joe Gordon

Nicknamed “Flash,” Joe Gordon was a five time American League all-star, appeared in five World Series, and was the league MVP in 1942.  He was a career .268 hitter with 253 career home runs. After his major league career, Joe became a popular player-manager for the Sacramento Solons in 1951-52. He would go on to manage four different major league teams. He died in Sacramento in 1978 and was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. He is the second posthumous inductee into the La Salle Club Hall of Fame.

Don Lyle

Don Lyle excelled in football and baseball at Sacramento High School and Cosumnes River College. Signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1974 after a tryout camp, Lyle spent seven years in the Red's chain and hit over .270. In 1992, Don became a scout for the San Diego Padres and eventually joined the Cleveland Indians where he has signed more than 50 prospects to major league contracts, including first-rounder Derrek Lee (El Camino High) in 1993.

Jerry Manuel

Jerry Manuel was an All-City baseball player for Cordova High School and a first-round pick in the 1972 Major League Baseball Draft. He had a seven-year major league career with stops in Detroit, Montreal, and San Diego. Jerry managed the Chicago White Sox from 1998 to 2003 and the New York Mets from 2008 to 2010. He was named the American League Manager of the Year in 2000. He is currently the Director of Baseball Operations at William Jessup University in Rocklin.


Greg Orr

A standout multi-sport athlete at Kennedy High School, Greg Orr was a speedy middle infielder who had great years for the Sacramento City College baseball teams in 1971 and ‘72. He was also a star at Renfree Field playing in the competitive Sacramento night league in the early 1970’s. Greg would go on to become a scout for the storied New York Yankees. Now in his 33rd year in professional baseball, Orr signed former major leaguer Nick Johnson (McClatchy High) in 1996.

Manuel Perry

Manny was a key member of the stellar 1949 McClatchy Baseball team, Post 61 American Legion team, and the celebrated Sacramento City College team of 1950. After a productive playing career in the local bush leagues, Manny became a well-known American Legion coach. His most memorable season was leading the Kennedy squad to the final eight at the 1981 American Legion World Series.


Joe Viega

Joe was a great athlete growing up in the Southside Park neighborhood and excelled in football and baseball at Sacramento High School. Joe was a pitcher and an outfielder. After service in Korea, Joe returned to Sacramento where he played bush baseball for over 25 years, and won a batting title in the California Mexican League.

Randy Zanze

Randy was an All-City, team Most Valuable Player slugger for Bishop Armstrong in 1968. He went on to a productive collegiate career at University of San Francisco. In 1972, he was USF’s MVP and the West Coast Conference batting champion, hitting .422. After being injured in his final season at USF, Randy continued in the local leagues around Sacramento as a player and manager.

 

 

 

Updated 2-22-15

 

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