By Geoffrey Dunn
Its inviting weather, engaging rugged mountains, and alluring shorelines have continuously made Santa Cruz County a haven for athletic actions. a large choice of wearing endeavors, a few past the norm, have known as Santa Cruz domestic over the many years. within the nineteenth century, Santa Cruz served as a springboard for contemporary browsing. It was once an early bastion for prepared baseball, too, starting within the 1860s, and it used to be domestic to a sequence groups as early because the 1870s. different colourful athletic actions happened right here (including fireplace hose groups, long-distance jogging, and bicycling), besides extra conventional American activities like basketball, soccer, boxing, and tennis. The quarter boasts of a powerful culture of girls athletes to boot, specifically Marion Hollins, possibly the best all-around girl athlete of the early twentieth century.
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The Valley activities store Dodgers from Watsonville featured a destiny significant leaguer in John Sipin. proven listed below are, from left to correct, (first row) Ron Benich, Ben Ragsac, Steve Mine, Richard Menor, Gary Birlem, Dave Mercer, and Bob Matulich; (second row) Dick Depuy, David Welch, Paul Wilcox, Howard Knapp, Jay Kaysinger (manager), Ken Browell, Sipin, and Don Hansen. Mercer, an exceptional three-sport athlete, went directly to a mythical training profession at San Lorenzo Valley highschool. (Danny Braga. ) forty-one One of the main finished neighborhood athletes of the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies was once John Sipin, a two-sport big name at Watsonville excessive in either basketball and baseball who later went directly to a outstanding specialist baseball occupation in either the U.S. and Japan. Sipin used to be the son of Johnny Imperial Sipin, a local of the Philippines, and Ethel White, a local of Arkansas. Sipin grew up enjoying sandlot ball in Watsonville, the place his mom and dad felt “cautious” approximately socializing with different mom and dad, despite their son’s accomplishments at the diamond. After starring in either baseball and basketball at Cabrillo university, Sipin was once drafted via the St. Louis Cardinals ahead of being traded to the San Diego Padres in 1969. In his major-league debut with the Padres, Sipin hit back-to-back triples in his first at-bats, off left-hander Ken Holtzman. In 1972, he signed with the Taiyo Whales of the japanese League, the place he grew to become an immediate superstar and earned the nickname “Lion Maru” (after a jap comic strip superhero that morphed right into a lion) due to the facial hair he sported and his fiery disposition. (Sipin kin. ) forty two In addition to being one in every of Japan’s most sensible hitters, Sipin used to be additionally a dynamo within the box. He turned the 1st gaijin, or foreign-born, participant to obtain a eastern Gold Glove trophy for fielding. right here he's within the 1972 eastern All-Star video game, creating a spectacular play on an errant throw, with destiny corridor of famer Yutaka Fukumoto sliding into moment base. a number of performs later, Sipin threw out Fukumoto, Japan’s alltime base stealer, at domestic on a double-steal try out. Sipin has been named to numerous groups as one in every of Japan’s alltime maximum foreign-born moment basemen. He retired in 1980. (Sipin kin. ) There’s not anything really like hitting a house run in entrance of Sadaharu Oh (No. 1), the chinese language eastern “Babe Ruth,” who holds the area expert baseball profession list with 868 domestic runs. right here, Sipin, who used to be “given” to Oh’s Yomiyuri Giants in 1978, is greeted through Oh and different Yomiyuri teammates at domestic plate after belting a sayonara (home run). Sipin used to be an offensive powerhouse in Japan, compiling a nine-year occupation checklist of 218 round-trippers and a . 536 slugging percent, besides a . 297 lifetime batting commonplace. He was once named to the japanese all-star staff 5 occasions and two times bought the “Best 9” award, given each year to the easiest participant in Japan at every one place. (Sipin relatives. ) forty three The 1967 Holy go varsity baseball staff was once led via Paul Bagnasco (second row, 3rd from left), who went directly to play varsity baseball on the college of Santa Clara and used to be drafted by way of the recent York Mets in 1971.