This past weekend the Pacifica Historical Society invited several panelists to speak about their experiences growing up playing baseball and softball in Pacifica.
Surrounded by memorabilia from years past, two sets of panelists recounted their teams' history and the sport's growing popularity in Pacifica. The day was filled with history shared by Pacifica Tribune’s longtime sports editor Horace Hinshaw and plenty of stories.
Panelists included Gary Hernandez, who shared stories about being a Little League player in the early days of Pacifica baseball along with his brother, Major League player Keith Hernandez. He was joined by Bill Hooper who played in the very first Little League game in 1957. Diane Hart, an early Bobby Sox softball board member, was there along with Terra Nova High School graduate and Major Leaguer Greg Reynolds.
“I told the guy I was only 8; back then you got to be 9. I lied through my gut to be on the team,” recalled Hooper. “We only had nine hats and nine T-shirts. We had about 15 guys on the team.
“And if we switched we had to take the guy that switched, take his hat,” he said.
The panel also discussed the early softball teams.
“There was the fact that we had no money,” said Hart. “I think we had bake sales, we had car washes, we had donations, anything and everything we could come up with enough money.”
Hart continued to explain the effort put into getting her daughter’s team to tournaments. “And they lost. It's a double-elimination tournament and they lost both games,” she recalled. “But they had fun.”
Hinshaw filled in between the panelists with an organized history of baseball and softball and the fields in Pacifica. Eventually, this timeline brought the audience to Reynolds.
“I grew up just falling in love with baseball at a young age,” he said. “I grew up in the west side of Fairway Park. So I was able to ride my bike to the Fairway fields and spent most of my childhood there. I would think, that was kind of like my home away from home.”
Reynolds went on from Pacifica to play baseball for Stanford University and later for the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds as well as in Japan. During his time for the Rockies, Reynolds came back to play at Oracle Park.
“I was lucky enough that when I was with the (Cincinnati) Reds, we came to San Francisco and played a doubleheader,” he recalled. “I started the second game and I looked up as I was warming up. And this is one of the bullpens that are right next to the crowd. It was like my brothers who swore they would never go against the Giants.”
The second panel included coaches and a player from the 2014 Northern California champion Pacifica Little League team. Before the questions came, a clip from their game against Honolulu was played.
Coaches Steve Falk and David Shaw along with a player on the 2014 team, Chris Rodriguez, all recounted their tales of becoming the best team in California. The panel ended with a clip of the team beating Honolulu, 1-0.
Hinshaw’s work as a sports editor and one of the few collecting stats for local younger players has earned him a place in the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted June 27. The photos and memorabilia will be kept up at the museum for another month.
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