JOE AMALFITANO – A native of San Pedro, Joe Amalfitano played baseball at St. Anthony’s High School, Loyola University, and USC. He signed as one of the original “bonus babies” with the New York Giants in 1954. He played with the New York and San Francisco Giants through 1963 and finished his career with the Chicago Cubs from 1964-1967. Amalfitano managed the Cubs for a little over one year and was the third base coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers for sixteen years. He is currently a special advisor for player development for his original professional team, the San Francisco Giants.
GEORGE “SPARKY” ANDERSON – Sparky Anderson is the only manager in the history of Major League Baseball to have won a World Series championship with a National League and American League team. Twice named manager of the year and third on the all-time Major League win list, Anderson was the skipper of the Cincinnati Reds from 1970 to 1978, when the fabled “Big Red Machine” won four National League pennants and two World Series championships. From 1975 to 1979 Anderson managed the Detroit Tigers and brought the Motor City a World Series crown for the first and only time since 1968.
ALAN ASHBY – San Pedro grad, Alan Ashby played 21 years as a catcher in professional baseball, including 16 seasons in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros. He is a select member of 11 catchers who were behind the plate for 3 no-hitters, including Nolan Ryan’s major-league record fifth. Ashby, who logged 1,370 games and more than 1,000 career hits, was the first Astros player to ever hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game. He is currently an analyst for radio broadcasts of Toronto Blue Jays games.
BOBBY BALCENA – Considered to be one of the greatest athletes in San Pedro history, Balcena starred in football, track and baseball. In his first year in professional baseball, Balcena batted .369 for Mexicali to lead the Sunset League and in the following year had the league high of 132 RBIs. Balcena’s speed, defensive skills and hitting led him through a very successful 15 years in the high minor leagues and a brief stay with the Cincinnati Reds. He may have been the only Filipino to play in the major leagues.
GEORGE BRETT – George Brett is considered one of the best third basemen in Major League Baseball history. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, Brett’s 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman and he is 15th on the all-time hit list. During his 21 year career with the Kansas City Royals, Brett made the all-star team 13 times, netted the American League batting champ in three seasons, was named American League MVP in 1980, and led the Royals to their first and only World Series title in 1985. In 1980 Brett captivated the baseball world when he flirted with the fabled .400 batting average for a season and finished the year hitting .390.
ROY CAMPANELLA – Roy Campanella began his professional baseball career in 1937 at the age of 15 on the Washington Elite Giants in the old Negro League. After the color barrier was broken Campanella joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948 and was the only Dodger in history to be named MVP more than once, winning in 1951, 1953 and 1955. Campanella was the Dodgers starting catcher from 1949 through 1957, making the National League All-Star team every year from 1949 to 1956. He compiled a lifetime batting average of .276 with 242 home runs, and played in five World Series. His playing career ended in January, 1958, when an automobile accident left him partially paralyzed. Campanella was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and passed away in 1993.
NICK CASTANEDA – Nick Castaneda joins a fine list of San Pedro High baseball alumni to be honored on the Sportswalk. The 1980 graduate was the Marine League MVP in his senior season and was twice named to the All-City baseball squad. Drafted straight out of high school, Castaneda enjoyed a minor league baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals organizations. However, Castaneda’s peak season occurred south of the border when he set the Mexican League single season home run record with 54 blasts. What made that record even more amazing is that he was battling injuries and only had around 350 at-bats and hit .411 for the season.
RON CEY – Ron Cey concluded a 14-year major league career in 1987 with the Oakland A’s, but is best known for his decade as third baseman of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played in four World Series, six consecutive All-Star Games, and he still holds the Dodgers record for career home runs (228) and runs batted in for one game (eight). In 1981, he was selected tri-MVP of the World Series along with Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager. Cey is the fifth third baseman in major league history to have at least 300 home runs, finishing his career with 316.
DON DRYSDALE – A pitcher for the Dodgers from 1956-1969, Don Drysdale was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1984. He compiled a 209-167 lifetime record, a 2.95 ERA, and was selected to 10 National League All-Star teams. Drysdale played in five World Series and was on world championship teams in 1959, 1963, and 1965. He set a major league record by pitching six consecutive shutouts and 58.2 consecutive scoreless innings in 1968, a record which stood until it was broken in 1988 by Orel Herschiser. Drysdale was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984 and passed away in 1993.
STEVE GARVEY is one of the many icons that have played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A ten-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, Garvey was the 1974 National League MVP and led the Dodgers to the World Series that season. In 1981, Garvey capped an All-Star season by helping the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1965. Garvey holds the National League record for most consecutive games at 1,207. In 1982, Garvey moved to the San Diego Padres and in 1984 he earned his second National League Championship Series MVP title while leading the squad to their first National League pennant.
BOBBY GRICH – An outstanding baseball and football player at Wilson High in Long Beach, Bobby Grich started his Major League Baseball career in 1970 and went on to play 17 years for the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels. In 1974, he established a major league record for most putouts by a second baseman in a single season (484). In 1981, he became the first second baseman to lead his league in home runs since 1929 when Rogers Hornsby did it. Grich was a six time American League All-Star and won four Golden Gloves.
MIKE GILLESPIE has had an amazing career as a college baseball coach, first for the USC Trojans, and currently with the UC Irvine Anteaters. From 1987 to 2006, Gillespie led USC to four College World Series appearances, including the title game in 1995, and winning the championship in 1998. In 2007, Gillespie became the coach at UC Irvine where his team has compiled a winning record in every season under his leadership, won the Big West title in 2009, and advanced to the CWS Super-Regional in 2011. In 2010, Gillespie was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
BRIAN HARPER – A quarterback in football and a catcher in baseball, Brian Harper was a standout football and baseball player at San Pedro High School. Harper chose to pursue a professional baseball career and his .350 batting average led the Pacific Coast League in batting in 1981 with 192 hits and 122 RBIs. In the major leagues he bounced around with the California Angels, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A’s, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates before reaching stardom with the Minnesota Twins. In a memorable 1991 World Series, Harper batted .395 in Minnesota’s four games to three win over the Atlanta Braves. Harper batted .304 in 1993 to become only the fifth catcher since 1953 to hit over .300 for three consecutive years.
ED JURAK – Ed Jurak was an outstanding baseball player at San Pedro High School and, at age 17, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. In 1981, while playing for Bristol, the Sox AA farm club, he batted .340 to lead the Eastern League in batting. In 1988, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the first ever AAA All Star game which featured players from the Pacific Coast League, International League and the American Association. Jurak became a solid multi-position player in his six year Major League career with the Red Sox, Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants.
TOMMY LASORDA – Ask Tommy Lasorda what would happen if you cut him, the answer would inevitably come back that he would bleed “Dodger Blue.” Ask him how the Dodgers won in a come from behind game and he would tell you that the “Big Dodger in the Sky” was looking out for them. Mention a tough defeat and the only blue you might here is the language that he was famous for. The loquacious 20 year Dodgers skipper (1976-1996) built a Baseball Hall of Fame career as manager by getting his players to believe in themselves. The results speak for themselves — two World Series championships, four National League pennants, eight division titles, and two manger of the year awards. Go Dodgers!
ANDY LOPEZ – Andy Lopez was an outstanding baseball payer at San Pedro High and UCLA. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, but elected to join the coaching ranks. Lopez is only one of three college coaches to lead three separate teams into the College World Series. He began his career at Cal State Dominguez Hills where he lead them to a national Division II title. He became head coach at Pepperdine in 1989 where he led the Waves to the 1992 College World Series championship and was named College Coach of the Year, an honor he has won twice. In 1995, Lopez was hired by Florida where he coached seven seasons and led the Gators to two College World Series appearances. He is currently the head coach at Arizona and has guided the Wildcats to three straight post-season tournaments.
JOE LOVITTO – Joe Lovitto was a star football and baseball player at San Pedro’s Fermin Lasuen High in 1966-68 and the Washington Senators made him the No. 1 pick in the 1969 baseball draft. Lovitto played three years in the minors as a second baseman and outfielder and in 1972 he made it to the big leagues, becoming the starting center fielder for the Texas Rangers. Although Lovitto had blazing speed, his career was hampered by injuries and he retired in 1975. Former baseball manager, the late Billy Martin said, “Lovitto would have been a great player, but he was plagued with injuries.
GEORGE LUSIC – A graduate of San Pedro High School (1972), George Lusic went on to pitch for the Atlanta Braves organization (1972-1978). At San Pedro High School, Lusic was All-City First Team (1971, 1972) and All-Marine League Player of the Year (1971). He also was a three-year varsity baseball and basketball player. The Atlanta Braves drafted Lusic out of high school as the 33rd overall pick in the nation in the 1972 MLB June Amateur Draft. He played on various farm teams in the Braves organization, including the Wytheville Braves (Rookie League), Greenwood Braves (Class A), Peninsula Pennants (Class A), Savannah Braves (Class AA), and the Richmond Braves (Class AAA), where he won the International League Championship (1978).
GARRY MADDOX – A San Pedro High star, Garry Maddox was an outfielder with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies from 1972 to 1986. Nicknamed the Secretary of Defense, Maddox won eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards, a National League outfielder record only surpassed by baseball greats Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays. He is fifth on the Phillies all-time stolen base list. A lifetime .285 hitter, Maddox’s biggest hit was a 10th inning game-winning double in 1980 against the Houston Astros, which put the Phillies into the World Series, where they won their first and only championship.
TOM MORGAN – A native of El Monte and longtime San Pedro resident Morgan played baseball for El Monte High 1945-48 and was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1949. A lifetime 67-47 pitcher, in his 12 year career, Morgan played for various teams, including the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. He played in three World Series with the Yankees and later coached several years for the California Angles.
DON NEWCOMBE – A Dodger legend, Don Newcombe pitched for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1948-1958. He pitched in three World Series (1949, 1955, and 1956) and four All-Star games. Newcombe is the only man in baseball history to win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and the Cy Young Award. As one of the early black players to enter the major leagues (he played one season in the Negro League) Newcombe was active in speaking out for human rights during his time off field. Today, Newcombe serves as Director of Community Relations for the Dodgers.
JIM O’BRIEN coached the Los Angeles Harbor College baseball team for 15 seasons and compiled a career record of 460-176-2. In that span he won eleven conference championships, made eight state tournaments, and won three state titles. Prior to leading Harbor, O’Brien coached at North Torrance High where he won eight Bay League titles and two CIF championships. In 1973 he was named the California high school baseball coach of the year.
JEFF PEDERSEN – Jeff Pedersen attended San Pedro’s Fermin Lasuen High School, where he earned nine varsity letters and held numerous records. He was voted Athlete of the Year in 1968 and was second-round draft choice by the Chicago Cubs, but chose a USC baseball scholarship instead. At USC, he was the first player in NCAA history to start on three straight National Championship baseball teams, serving as team captain in 1972, and was selected to represent USC in the Pan American Games.
JACKIE ROBINSON – Following an outstanding athletic career at UCLA, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and broke the color barrier in Major League baseball, which paved the way for all future generations of black athletes to compete in professional sports. In 10 major league seasons, he batted .311 and helped the Dodgers win six National League Pennants and defeat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series. He was voted the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1947, Most Valuable Player in 1949 and was a six time All-Star. Robinson was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1962 and in 1997, Major League Baseball, in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of his first game with the Dodgers, retired his number 42 across all teams in the Major Leagues. Robinson passed away in 1972.
REGGIE SMITH – Reggie Smith enjoyed a 17 year career as an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. During that span, Smith earned seven All-Star game invitations and appeared in four World Series, including three with the Dodgers. At the plate, Smith led the American League in total bases in 1971, and led the National League in on-base percentage in 1977. A Gold Glove award winner, Smith was widely recognized as having one of the strongest arms in all of baseball.
FERNANDO VALENZUELA – Fernando Valenzuela burst on the baseball scene in September 1980 and early 1981 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, creating an instant sensation called “Fernandomania.“ In 1981 he was the first player to earn both the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young awards. Valenzuela won his only start in the World Series that year, helping the Dodgers defeat the New York Yankees. Valenzuela made the All-Star team five times. His best year was 1986 when he had a record of 21 wins, 11 losses, 20 complete games and 242 strikeouts. A highlight came in 1990 when Valenzuela pitched a no-hit, no-run game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
JOHN WERHAS – San Pedran John Werhas was a two-sport All-American at USC, playing both baseball and basketball from 1956 through 1960. As a Trojan, he helped win the NCAA baseball championship in 1958. Although drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, he chose to sign with the Dodgers and played with them from 1960 through 1967. Werhas currently is the senior pastor at The Rock Community Christian Church in Yorba Linda, CA.
MAURY WILLS – When former Los Angeles Dodgers great Maury Wills got on base the Dodger Stadium fans would begin chanting, “Go, go, go!” Wills almost single handedly changed the way baseball players run the bases. In 1960, Wills’ first full season, he led the National League with 50 stolen bases and in 1962 he set a Major League record with 104 thefts. To put that in perspective, Willie Mays led the National League in 1959 with only 27 steals and in 1962 no other team had a total that matched Wills’ mark. A five-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove winner, Wills won three World Series championships with the Dodgers and was the National League MVP in 1962.
JERRY ZUVELA – Named one of San Pedro’s 100 all-time best athletes, Jerry Zuvela was on the 1946 All-Marine League baseball team as an outfielder for San Pedro High and he also won the league long jump championship while wearing baseball spikes. After graduating Zuvela played for Compton College and Loyola University before embarking on a seven year minor league baseball career. He coached Loyola University for a season.