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9/28/14

Remember When -- 1949

CASEY AT THE BAT MURAL ON VIEW OCTOBER 11

RememberWhen

From Edmonds Field To Center For Sacramento History

by Editor Rick Cabral

~ ~ ~

Spring 1949 was a rebuilding year for the Sacramento Solons.

Literally.

In July the previous summer, most of the old ballpark named Edmonds Field had burned to the ground. A smoldering cigarette is presumed to have ignited hot dog wrappers or peanut shells below the home grandstands, thus starting the fire (and if you ever heard former Sacramento Bee columnist Stan Gilliam tell it, he was the unwitting perpetrator, not wishing to waste more than a few ounces of beer on the glowing embers below his shoes). 

The Solons owners rebuilt their ballpark on a concrete foundation, forever eliminating the wooden bleachers of days gone by. They decided to add a bit of color to spruce up the drab gray concrete ballyard by commissioning a mural that depicted the final stanza from the poem, “Casey At the Bat.”* 

 

 Mugartegui_Casey

George Mugartegui painting the mural
"Casey At the Bat" March, 1949
Courtesy of Frank Mugartegui Collection

The Solons hired George Bowman to design the attraction and George Mugartegui to paint it. While we know little about Bowman’s background, Mugartegui was a Spaniard who studied art in Barcelona and apprenticed for nine years before immigrating to the U.S. around 1920. Eventually he landed in Sacramento in the mid-1920s, according to his son, Frank.

During the Depression, Mugartegui had no trouble finding work, where his specialty of gold gilding was employed on the cross atop the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and parts of the Alhambra Theatre, among other projects. He also painted murals at the old State Fairgrounds. 

The mural of Casey at the Bat was painted on three vertical pieces of plywood measuring 118 inches tall by 136 inches wide (nearly 10’ x 11’4”) when assembled. The mural was mounted on the interior wall of Edmonds Field to the right of the main entrance (as you were leaving the building). 

The Solons left Sacramento after the 1960 season, but the ballpark remained until 1964, when the owners sold the property to Lucky Stores, which razed it for a GEMCO superstore. Owner Fred David dissembled the mural and stored it in the basement of his business, David Candy.  

David bequeathed the Casey mural to local historian and collector Alan O’Connor, who in turn donated it to the Center for Sacramento History.

The mural, along with many other historical artifacts, photographs, documents, and other ephemera will be on display Saturday October 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the 4th Annual Sacramento Archive Crawl. On that day, four of Sacramento’s historical museums will open its doors to visitors for the free event.

The four locations include: California State Archives, California State Library, Center for Sacramento History and Sacramento Room, Central Library (Tsakopoulos Library Galleria).

* Ernest Thayer wrote the poem and released it in 1888, around the time he covered baseball for the San Francisco Examiner. This included a stint covering the California League team in Stockton, which had earned the appellation “Mudville” in the mid-19th Century.

--

 

 Casey Plague

A portion of Thayer's poem was printed on the mural of Casey At the Bat

 

9/27/14

Easton Cats Youth Summer Team to Hold Tryouts

2015 Easton Cats, in conjunction with The Sacramento Sports Center, are holding tryouts on Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at Sacramento City College.

The tryouts are for the 2015 Easton/SSC Cats Summer Baseball Teams, the U17/Class of 2016, U16/Class of 2017 and U15/Class of 2018.

Derek Sullivan, head coach of the SCC Panthers, will coach the 18U club and supervise the younger travel teams.

Go to sacramentosportscenter.com for more information.

 

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logo design by Walt Fitzpatrick and Rick Cabral 

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Background

For decades, Sacramento has been a hotbed of tremendous baseball talent. A few of the locals performing in the Major Leagues at present from the greater Sacramento area* include J.P. Howell, Dustin Pedroia, Derrek Lee, Manny Parra and many more.

Among the hundreds of former professional players who have hailed from around here (and this is not an exhaustive list) include: Dusty Baker, Larry Bowa, Ken and Bob Forsch, Stan Hack, Woody Held, David Hernandez, Derrek Lee, Joe Marty, Butch Metzger, Steve Sax, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina and many others.

Numerous MLB managers have come out of Sacramento, including:
Dusty Baker (SF Giants, Chicago Cubs and now Cincinnati Reds)
Larry Bowa (San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies)
Jerry Manuel (Chicago White Sox and New York Mets)
Buck Martinez (Toronto Blue Jays)
Johnny McNamara (6 teams)

Many top-name big league players barnstormed through Sacramento from the teens through the early '60s. Among the barnstormers, none were bigger than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who performed as the Bustin' Babes and Larrupin Lous here in Sacramento in 1927 (you can read more about that tour at ThePitchBook.com).

After runnin' the bases here, if you would like to submit material that you believe should be included at BaseballSacramento.com, please send an email to
RAC (at) baseballsacramento (dot) com.

Also be sure to check out the All-Time Top 50 Players from Sacramento in the History section.
 

Enjoy!

Editor
Rick Cabral

* The "greater Sacramento baseball area" extends west to Woodland, north to Yuba City, east to Grass Valley and south to the San Joaquin County line.

Updated 9/28/14
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2014


 

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