Tim Mead was crying. Imagine that. A baseball Hall of Famer in tears. The reason was simple: This kid got cut off his high school team. Again.
Where: San Gorgonio High School. When: 1976. Why: This team was loaded with talent.
Remember: One year later, the Spartans would win a CIF-4A championship. Bill Havard, the Spartans’ junior varsity coach, made a pitch to Varsity coach Bill Kernan.
“Let me keep him on the JVs,” Havard said.
Normally, seniors don’t play on the JV squad. The whole idea of a freshman or JV team is to serve as a base for future Varsity players. Seniors on a JV team, then, don’t make sense.
“He’d been cut all four years,” said Havard. “I told (Kernan), ‘let me keep him as a coach. He can play a little bit, but I won’t take any (playing time) away from any of the other kids.’ ”
As a senior, Mead coached a little first base, but wound up hitting cleanup late in the season.
Havard said, “They took a lot of those kids up to the Varsity. So we had Tim batting fourth in the lineup.”
Some of those kids might’ve been players like Tim Miner. Lance Nelson (son of former MLB pitcher Mel Nelson). Larry Kelly. Ted Rossi. Jim Tennell. Phil Webber. Tim Young. Steve Bouschet. There were others. None of them were Mead, though.
A year later, those players -- not Mead -- won the CIF Division championship under new coach Dennis Rogers. Kernan had departed.
Mead, meanwhile, landed in the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, N.Y.
They might’ve cut him from the Spartans’ Varsity baseball program, but they never cut his love for the game out of him. After a Cal Poly education, he worked himself up from a California Angels’ intern to eventual executive with the Los Angeles Angels.
Upon retirement from the same organization that scouted, drafted and developed Mike Trout, a full-fledged assignment.
Footnote: There’s a good chance that Havard may show up -- first time -- in Cooperstown. He’ll likely get a personal tour from Mead.
* * *
Volleyball’s Claire Kovensky, who showed up in Arizona to play college volleyball off the Citrus Valley High campus. A transfer to Arizona State from nearby Grand Canyon College, they’ve got such powerhouse teams as Oklahoma, Kansas, Nevada-Las Vegas, Houston and even LSU.
* * *
It’s been a few years, but two-time PGA Championship champion Dave Stockton’s book “Unconscious Putting” should be an attractive read to players looking to win on the greens.
* * *
Seen on Twitter from Citrus Valley High assistant Chalen Tessitore, whose football-coaching around this area needs no reminder: “Happy 23 anniversay to my wife … definitely outkicked my coverage on this one.”
* * *
Downtown Tallahassee on Tennessee Street is Zoe’s Kitchen, an eatery right around the corner from Stadium Way.
It’s where Zoe Casas spent four seasons playing in Florida State’s lineup. They were NCAA Division I champions in 2018. Casas trained at, among other places, Aquinas high.
Still trying to figure out if Zoe’s Kitchen is a good place to eat.
It might’ve replaced a Which Wich sandwich shop that used to be in that area.
* * *
Seems strange that Karen Jacobs, the All-State striker from JUCO powerhouse San Bernardino Valley, didn’t wind up at offense-strapped Cal State San Bernardino. The Lady Coyotes need a star striker.
The ex-Lady Terrier scoring threat and track star would’ve been a natural fit.
Nea Sunila, the LSU-Alexandria coach who landed Jacobs, plus Morgan Simmang and Stephanie Doran from SBVC’s state powerhouse, said, “I’m pretty excited about them.
“I’m expecting all three of them to make a difference on the field. We have gotten a few girls from San Bernardino over the years and they have not disappointed us.
“Coach (Kristen) Hauge has always sent us quality players.”
Let’s get a count going on the number of “quality” players that have gone from the SBVC to Cal State. Should be a pipeline built for both men’s and women’s programs.
No, says Jacobs, “I wasn’t really interested in them, either, since it was really close to my hometown.”