LEE IORG--1973 NBC MVP

& BATTING CHAMPION

JIMMY WILLIAMS

   Rob DaYoung

Palm Beach Expos

LEE IORG

ERIC GUNDERSON

     Scott Chiamparino was born in San Mateo, California where he attended Serra High School. The 6'2" 190 pound right hander was a 4th round draft pick by the Oakland A's in 1987. He spent parts of 6 seasons in the minor leagues with both the Oakland and Texas organizations where he compiled a 40-36 record and 3.23 ERA. In 1990, he went 13-9 with a 3.28 ERA for the Tacoma Tigers of the AAA Pacific Coast League. That same year, he made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers when he tossed 5 scorless innings against Cleveland on Sept. the 5th. Chiamparino logged parts of 3 seasons (1990-'92) in the majors, all with Texas, winning 2 of 8 games with a career 3.27 earned run average.


     Steve Olin, from Portland, Oregon was 29-24 during his college years at Portland State. He had a 6-year professional baseball career (1987-'92) before a fatal boating mishap took his life. He posted a career 22-10 minor league record with a stellar 2.68 ERA. He was 10-4 with a 3.10 ERA during parts of 3 seasons with the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Pacific Coast League. Olin made his major league debut on July 29th, 1989 as a right handed submarining relief pitcher with the Cleveland Indians. Often, his introduction into a game would be the Beatles Yellow Submarine blasting over the P A system. Olin won 16 games while losing 19 with 48 saves during his 4-year stint with the Indians. His best season was his last, 1992, when he went 8-5 with a 2.34 ERA and 29 saves before the fatal crash.


     Eric Gunderson, also from Portland, Oregon attended Aloha High School and Portland State before becoming a 2nd round draft pick by the SF Giants in 1987. The portsider spent a total of 15 seasons (1987-2001) as a professional pitcher with eight different organizations. As a minor leaguer, he had a career 62-49 record with a 4.29 ERA. At age 23, Gunderson won 8 of 10 games with a 2.72 ERA for the 1989 Shreveport Captains of the AA Texas League. A year later, 1990, he made his major league debut with the Giants. Gunderson spent parts of 10 years in the majors as a reliever with a career 8-11 record and 4.95 earned run average.


     Mike Harkey from San Diego, California spent the summer of 1986 with the Fairbanks, Alaska Goldpanners where he went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA. He was an 18th round draft pick out of Ganesha High School of Pomona, Ca. in 1984 and the Chicago Cubs' 1st round pick (4th overall) in the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft from Fullerton State. He spent parts of 8 seasons in the minor leagues with a 31-30 record and career 3.80 ERA. At age 21, while with the Pittsfield Cubs of the AA Eastern League, Harkey won 9 of 11 games with a minuscule 1.37 ERA. That same year, 1988, Harkey was promoted to the AAA Iowa Cubs where he went 7-2 with a 3.55 ERA. The result was a major league debut later that season on Sept. the 5th with the Chicago Cubs. Harkey, with his 92 mph fastball would spend 8 years in the majors with 5 different teams and post a career 36-36 record and career 4.49 ERA. His best season as a major leaguer was 1990 as a Cub when he posted a 12-6 record (.667 win%) with a 3.26 ERA while striking out 94 batters and logging 173.2 innings. Since his retirement as a player, Harkey has served as a bullpen coach with several major league teams, most recently with the New York Yankees.

      Late in July, Humboldt entertained their West Coast arch rival, the 15-1 Santa Rosa Elks in a double header. Bob Aaberg defeated   Lee Walker, (formerly with the Salem Senators of the class B Northwest League and now 10-0 for the Elks), 13-2 in the 1st game while Jim Thomas won the nightcap 3-1. The following weekend, the Crabs improved to 14-6 by blasted the Cascade Royals 15-0 and 9-2. "Spider" Thomas fired a 3-hitter and struck out 15 while picking up his 2nd shutout of the season. Catcher Al Socket homered, tripled, and singled. Humboldt ended the regular scheduled season by hosting their nemesis, the Alaska Goldpanners, in a three game set. The Crabs won 3-2 and 7-4 before Aaberg lost for only the 2nd time on the year, both to the Panners, this time 10-1.


     Humboldt entered the 1964 National Baseball Congress State Tournament with an automatic berth due to their winning the event the previous year. They topped Purity Stores of Redwood City 9-4 in the opening round with John Costa, Don Carter and Al Socket each hitting home runs. In the semi-finals, Bob Aaberg tossed a nifty 2-hitter with 13 K's in stopping the 16-3 San Luis Obispo Blues 2-1. The Blues had earlier beaten Bakersfield to determine the Southern Calif. representative. Redwood City, the Central Calif. champions, bounced the 22-3 Acme of Alameda in the other semi-final to set up a rematch with the Crabs in the Final. Lefty Bobby Doig tossed a 6-hit shutout as the Crabs won their 2nd straight Calif. NBC semi-pro title and 3rd in the last 4 years by blanking Purity 11-0. John Costa collected 4 hits while Al Socket went 3-4. 


     Before heading to Wichita, Kansas for the National Baseball Congress semi-pro World Series, the Crabs bolstered their pitching staff by adding Redwood City pitcher Dan Frisella, originally from Wally's of San Francisco, and Bill Brasher from UCLA. Frisella who pitched for the Bulldogs of San Mateo Jr. College and Washington St. would go on to pitch 5 years in the minors, ('66-'70) with a career 38-16 record and stellar 2.60 ERA. He also spent 10 years in the major leagues ('67-'76) where he won 34 and lost 40 with a 3.32 ERA. They also added outfielder Vern Motley with his 2 prior years of pro experience. On their way to Wichita the Crabs stopped off at Grand Junction, Colorado for 2 games against the Eagles and another match-up against the Goldpanners who were also on their way to Wichita. Taylor and Thomas picked up 13-3 and 4-1 wins against Grand Junction however Frisella got hammered 13-0 by Alaska.


     The Crab's entered the National Tournament at 22-8 with 6 of the losses going to the nation's #1 ranked team--the Fairbanks Goldpanners--representing the state of Alaska. In the 1st round, Eureka opened the tournament with a 3-2 win over the 31-2 Gibsonton, Florida Chiefs. Jim Thomas picked up the complete game victory. Bill Brasher won game two with a 3-2 victory over Wichita Service Auto Glass. In game 3, Bobby Doig got credit for the Crabs 5-3 win over Wyoming, Michigan, a team of college players from the tough Basin League. In a battle of unbeatens, Diog, in relief of Frisella, picked up his 2nd win of the tournament with a 4-2 win over the Bellingham Bells of Washington. Crab center fielder Walt Napier hit a 2-run homer. The win set the stage for another match-up, the 10th, with the undefeated Alaska Goldpanners. It took a relief effort to put out the fire by the great Tom Seaver after the Crabs scored 2 runs to pull within a run and trail 6-5 after 8 innings. Alaska would score once more as Larry Taylor took the tough 7-5 loss. 


     In the quarter finals, Larry Taylor, in relief of Bob Aaberg, got credit for the Crab's 6-4 win over Poncha Toula, Louisiana, setting up yet another clash, the 12th, against the Goldpanners in the semi finals. Starter Bobby Doig trailed 3-0 early in the game before Phil Mastagni closed the gap in the 4th inning with a 2-run homer. Panner 3rd baseman Craig Nettles, who had already hit 4 home runs in the tourney, had a chance to put the game away but harmlessly flied out with the bases loaded in the 8th. Eureka knotted the game with a run in the 9th, sending the game into extra innings before Alaska nicked reliever Larry Taylor for a run in the 11th inning to take a 4-3 victory and a birth in the finals.


     The Wichita Service Auto Glassmen defeated the Goldpanners 6-1 to claim the 1964 UBC championship. Their only loss in the tournament came in the 2nd round against the Crabs. In a contest to determine 3rd place, the Bellingham Bells defeated Eureka 9-8 in a wild affair when reliever Bob Aaberg gave up a lone run in the bottom of the 10th inning. John Costa collected 3 hits. Don Lauters hit .405 for the tournament (15-37), Jim Bonomini .296 (8-27), and John Costa .294 (10-34). Lauters and Napier were named to the NBC semi-pro All-American team. The Crabs finished the season with a 27-11 record, losing only to two teams--9 times to Fairbanks and twice to Bellingham--the second and 3rd ranked teams in the nation.

LOU BONOMINI

1985 CRAB ROSTER


TONY FELECIONE, CF

JEFF JOHNSON, SS

PAT GARMAN, 3B

STEVE NEEL, 1B

RAY WILLIAMSON, LF

STEVE STOWELL, RR

BILL CRUIKSHANK, 2B

JEFF HOOPER, C

MIKE HARKEY, RHP

SCOTT CHIAMPARINO, RHP

ERIC GUNDERSON, LHP

ROB DaYOUNG, RHP

SHAWN HATHAWAY, P

STEVE OLIN, RHP,

JON STONE, P

MIKE MURPHY, P

MIKE HILL, C

JOHN KLAR, CF

FRED HANKER, 3B

JEFF MENEFEE, P

KEVIN ROSS

KURT GRITTS


WESTERN BASEBALL ASSOC.


HUMBOLDT CRABS  (20-0)

FONTANETTI'S, SAN JOSE

SACRAMENTO SMOKIES

SEASIDE WARRIORS

GILROY CO. BEES

SAN FRANCISCO SENATORS

DAVIS RED SOX

     '64 CRABS


BOB BONOMINI, 2B

GARY OWENS, SS

DON LAUTERS, 3B

PHIL MASTAGNI, RF

WALT NAPIER, CF

DON CARTER, 1B

MANUEL FAGUNDES, RF

JIM GARRETT, C

JIM THOMAS, P

BOB AABERG, P

LARRY TAYLOR,P

BOBBY DOIG, P

WILKINSON, P


JOHN COSTA, CF

AL SUCKET, C

JIM HOLLISTER, CF

DENNIS PONTONI, OF


THE IORG BROTHERS

     At age 19, Garth Iorg was drafted in the 8th round of the 1973 Amateur June-Draft and shortly thereafter, signed a contract with the N.Y. Yankees organization. He slowly worked his way up the Yankees' minor league ladder before being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the November 1976 expansion draft. Iorg averaged .256 during his 8 seasons in the minor leagues as a 2nd baseman and 3rd baseman. He made his major league debut on April the 9th, 1978 for the Blue Jays at age 23. Iorg spent parts of 9 seasons in the major leagues, mostly as a platoon hitter, and all with the Toronto Blue Jays where he averaged .258 with 20 home runs during his MLB career. His best season was 1985 when he posted career bests with his .313 average, (best on team and only Blue Jay to hit over .300), 7 HR's and .469 slugging percentage. The 99-62 pennant-winning Jays lost the AL Championship Series to his brother Dane and the Kansas City Royals. (Chico's Pat Gillick was Toronto's GM). Iorg didn't pitch or catch for the Blue Jays but played every other position, including DH during his ML career and earned more than $1,363,334. At the time of his retirement, he was the Jays' all-time pinch-hit leader. After his playing days were over, Iorg managed in the minor leagues for 6 seasons with Medicine Hat (1990-Rk.). Myrtle Beach (1991-A), Knoxville ('92-'95-AA) and Syracuse ('97-AAA). His teams won 380 games while losing 537 (.414 win %).

AABERG & THOMAS

"If you honestly believe that life is an open road without limits and are willing to do what it takes, then there just may be a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. Believing gives us the strength to kick down the door, walk down the hall of darkness and back into the light where the warmth gives us life. Believing is all-powerful, it makes things happen! Believing pushes the positive thoughts and insights into this philosophy. Here’s hoping you find what you want and more importantly want what you find. Good luck."

TOM SEAVER

PAT GARMAN

HUMBOLDT COUNTY  BASEBALL--It was Archimedes who shouted "eureka" after making an important discovery. Eureka is Greek for “I have found it!” Humboldt County, about 250 miles north of San Francisco, is home of several unique and unusual phenomena--her scenic coastal vistas along route 101, her majestic groves of redwood forest, her Victorian architecture, fishing, logging, and CRABS. In 1944, Louie Bonomini, then a member of the Eureka Tallow Company, hit the docks in an attempt to drum up support from local fishing companies in order to finance a new baseball team. Charlie Timmons, playing/manager of A. Paladini Fish Company stepped up to the plate and sponsored the new club for the 1st three years with the team initially being called the Paladini Crabs monikered after the North Coast Dungeness crab. Bonomini, the "Godfather" of the Crabs acted as playing manager for the 1st eight seasons and continued to manage the team for a couple of more decades. Initially, the Crabs were a selection of players from the old Humboldt County and Redwood Leagues, with the nucleus of players coming from the independent Chicago Bridge & Iron, and the Eureka Tallow Company of the defunct Redwood League. Other members were from the Scotia Lumberjacks, Eureka Merchants, Arcata/Samoa Blues, and the Fortuna Merchants. They began by playing Saturday nights at Eureka High School’s Albee Stadium and Sundays at the Arcata Ball Park. In 1954, most Crab games were plaed in Eureka while all games were played at the Arcata Ball Park beginning in 1964. On June 17th, 1945, the Humboldt Crabs opened their initial season with a 21-2 crushing of the Scotia Lumberjacks. Since then, the Crustaceans have gone on to win more than seventy percent of their games with a record of 1,579 wins and 502 losses from 1945 to 2010 against some of the best semi-pro teams in the country.
     
     The Humboldt Crabs were the most successful organization in the history of California semi-pro baseball during the 20th century. They won 18 California National Baseball Congress state semi-pro titles, including an incredible 15 in a row (1963-1977) easily outdistancing the Atwater Packers and Fort Ord Warriors who won three titles apiece. The Crabs rank alongside the Goldpanners and Glacier Pilots of Alaska, the Bellingham Bells and Seattle Studs from the state of Washington, the Baseline Boulder Collegians from Colorado, the Wichita Rapid Transit Dreamliners and Liberal Bee Jays of Kansas, the Fort Wayne G-E Club of Indiana and the Grand Rapids Sullivans from Michigan as among the all-time best semi-pro franchises in the United States. Although the Crabs have never won a National Baseball Congress World Series, they have placed third at the prestigious event in Wichita, Kansas on 3 occasions 4th three times and 5th three other times. Usually 32 teams enter the National tournament. The only California teams to ever win an NBC title were the 1982 Santa Maria Indians (1982) and the Santa Barbara Foresters in 2006, '08, '11, '12, '14 and 2016.  The Indians were runners-up in 1979 as were the Atwater Packers in 1951 and the Carmichael Firemen of 1946. During the 1950's, most of the Crabs' competition came from the Redding Tigers, the Santa Rosa Elks and the Medford Studs of Oregon. 1952/53 Humboldt pitcher John Oldham was the first Crab player to make it to the major leagues when he pitched for the 1956 Cincinnati Reds.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SEMI-PRO BASEBALL

CALIFORNIA BASEBALL HISTORY

HUMBOLDT COUNTY BASEBALL

DANE IORG

GARY SUTHERLAND

DON CARTER

'85 CRABS

NBC TOURNAMENT


DON LAUTERS          .405

JIM BONOMINI           .296

JOHN ACOST             .294

PHIL MASTAGNI        .269

BOB BONOMINI         .267

WALT NAPIER            .267

JIM THOMAS              .227

JIM GARRETT            .167

VERN MOTLEY          .133

GARY OWENS           .118


PITCHING


BOBBY DOIG              2-0

BILL BRASHER          1-0

JIM THOMAS              1-1 

LARRY TAYLOR         1-1

BOB AABERG             0-1

           

JOHN COSTA

ARCATA BALL PARK

     The Humboldt-Eureka Crabs opened the '64 season with two home victories over the Fallon Merchants, last year's Nevada semi-pro state champs, and then split a two-game home-set with the Hatzell Radios of El Cerrito. The following weekend, the Crabs took two games, including Bob Aaberg's 3-hit shutout, over the Fresno All-Stars, and improved to 5-1 before embarking on a long road trip to Fairbanks, Alaska where they would meet the Goldpanners in a five-game series.


     The core of the '64 Crabs and heart of the lineup were three veteran minor league players with several years of professional experience. Thirty-three year old all-around player Don Lauters, who once played all nine positions while with the "53 Albuquergue Dukes, had hit .267 over the course of five seasons in the minors with the Chicago Cubs organization. Center fielder Walt Napier spent five seasons in the Boston Red Sox chain where he combined to hit .235, including 3 years with the Raleigh Capitals of the level B Carolina League. Thirty year old third baseman Don Carter combined to hit .281 while spending four seasons in the minors, mostly at the C level with the Eau-Claire Braves of the Northern League. The team also included 4 players from Fresno State--Bob Bonomini, Phil Mastagni, Manuel Fagundes and Light-hitting catcher Jim "Lightfoot" Garrett. Garrett had spent 5 years in the Canadian Leagues playing for the Moose Jaw Mallards (.209), Saskatoon Gems (.266), the Calgary Buffaloes  in 1960, and the Lethbridge White Sox in '61.


     The Crabs began the season with a rotation of three Division ll college pitchers--veteran Crab and local right-hander Larry Taylor of Humboldt State and two lefties from Sacramento State. Juniors Bob Aaberg and Jim "Spider" Thomas had just led the 31-9 Hornets, 11-1 in league play, to an NCAA District title which included the first of back-to-back Far West League Championships. Aaberg from Marysville, California had previously pitched at Yuba Junior College where he went 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA during an injury plagued year. Thomas would move on and pitch professionally for 7 years advancing as high as AAA Louisville of the International League. He would win 34 games while losing 37 with a sparkling 2.93 earned run average over the course of his pro career. The Crabs added a fourth starter in future Fresno State Hall-of-Famer Bobby Doig. Doig had previously spent five seasons in the minors going 35-30 with a 3.33 earned run average. He had also spent two years with the Saskatoon Gems of the Western Canada Baseball League as a teenager. In 1954, Doig was 4-2, striking out 45 batters in 60 innings at age 19 for the league champion 43-17 Gems. He quit the Fresno All-Stars and joined the 5-1 Crabs shortly before their long, 9-game road trip which began in Alaska.


     The Goldpanners won the first four games of the series before Bob Aaberg tossed a nifty, 5-hit, 2-1 complete game victory. Craig Nettles scored the Panner's only run after he doubled just inside the bag down the right field line. On their way back to Eureka, Larry Taylor stopped New Westminister, British Columbia 9-1. The Canadian team had won 14 of 15 games including two against the highly rated Bellingham Bells. Spider Thomas then shutout Bellingham 4-0 before Jan Dukes and the Bells countered with a 6-3 victory. Dukes, from Santa Clara University, would later become MLB's 8th overall pick by Washington in the 1967 annual June draft. He would appear in the Majors for two seasons with the Senators and Texas Rangers. In 1963, Dukes teamed up with Nelson Briles at Santa Clara and then for the Calgary Giants of the Western Canada Baseball League where Dukes posted a 6-4 mark with a 2.50 ERA while Briles, from Chico, California, went 11-4 with a 2.46 ERA. Aaberg would finally end Humboldt's long 4-5 road trip with a 7-2 win against the Eugene Ducks improving the Crab's record to 9-6.

1985 HUMBOLDT CRAB'S (51-3) manager Bill "Bo" Hughes recently published a book titled Believing: Making Things Happen. Infinity Press, 2009.

     After 5-3 and 12-7 wins over the Redwood City Royals, the Crabs began the 2nd half of WBA league play by hosting an important 4-game series against Fontanett's. The 2nd place team from San Jose came in with a 41-4 (10-1 league mark), and had ended the Crab's 15 straight California NBC titles a few years earlier. Rob DaYoung won the 1st game 6-4 before Harkey improved to 5-0 with a 1-hit, 11 strikeout, 6-1 victory in game two. Chiamparino tossed a nifty 2-hitter to eke out a 2-1 win in game 3 and the Crabs sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs in the 7th inning to win the final game 11-9 which all but sewed up the WBA title. In a rare start, short reliever Steve Olin from Portland State topped the KRON Snoopies of El Cerrito 12-4 before Eric Gunderson tossed a 2-hit, 10-0 shutout in the nightcap. Upon returning to WBA play, Mike Harkey improved to 6-0 with a 16-0 blanking of the San Francisco Senators. Steve Neel went 4-4 with a homer while catcher Jeff Hooper also homered. John Klar collected 4 hits and the shutout was the Crab's 4th of the season. After Chiamparino hurled a 4-hit 3-2 win coupled with an 11-1 victory against the Senators, the Crabs improved to 37-0 with 6-3 and 13-8 wins over the 20-9 Navato Knicks of the Sacramento Rural League. Humboldt closed out WBA league play with a perfect 20-0 season after sweeping a 4-game set ( 4-3, 14-1, 11-3, and 13-9) against the 28-8 Davis Red Sox. The Crabs beat the Monterey Angels 12-2 and 6-3 before closing out the regular season with 4 games against Oscars of San Jose. After a 15-4 win in the opener, Harkey improved to 8-0 with a 14-2 win. In the 1st game of a Sunday doubleheader, the Crabs scored 17 runs in a single inning including 2 home runs by Steve Neel and humiliated Oscars 28-6. Neel's 1st homer, his 17th, broke Al Hunsinger's all-time Crab record for most home runs in a season set in 1980. In the finale, Mark Jensen's 9-2 victory throttled the Crabs and ended their record-setting 46-game winning streak. Scott Chiamparino was the unfortunate loser.


     West of the Rockies Tournament--San Jose GM Jerry Fontanetti refused to enter the Humboldt-hosted tournament citing another 300-mile road trip and biased home umpiring which included one of Lou Bonomini's sons. Humboldt swept the tourney by topping the Sacramento Angels 11-3 with Harkey picking up his 9th win without a lose. Chiamparino improved to 7-1 on the year with a 6-2 win over the Oakland Angels and Gunderson tossed a 3-hit shutout with 13 K's as the Crabs shellacked the Davis Red Sox 30-0. It was Humboldt's 5th whitewashing of the year and Pat Garman collected 5 hits including hitting for the cycle.


     The 49-1 Crabs had played all 50 games in the cozy confines of Arcata Ball Park (309' to left field, 306' to right and 368' to the power alley in right-center) in front of their usual 1,500-2,000 rabid home fans and local umpires. Long gone were the days of lengthy road trips to Bellingham, Washington and Fairbanks, Alaska where they battled the Bells and Goldpanners. It's possible that the easier schedule had something to do with their 17th place finish at the National Baseball Congress World Series. It was the 1st time in 4 years that the Crabs would make the long trek to Wichita due to the $20,000 in travel costs necessary to attend the 2-week tournament. After Harkey's 3-hit, 8-1 victory (his 10th win) over Tampa, Florida, the Crabs and Scott Chiamparino fell to the powerful Anchorage, Alaska Glacier Pilots 7-4 in the 2nd round. Harkey, pitching on short rest, gave up 3 first-inning runs and suffered his only loss of the season (10-1) as Tucson, Arizona hung on and eliminated the 51-3 Crabs by a score of 4-3  in the 3rd round. For the season, the Crabs scored 515 runs or 9.54 runs/game while only allowing 185 runs or 3.43 runs/game.


     Crab lead-off batter Tony Felicione and shortstop Jeff Johnson led the team in hitting during the first half of the season. Felicione would lead Long Beach State in hitting a year later with his .431 average. Eleven Crabs would move on to sign professional contracts including 6 pitchers, 4 of which would pitch in the major leagues. (a record 16 Crabs signed pro contracts from the 1981 team). Number 4 pitcher Rob DaYoung signed a pro contract the following year and compiled a 9-13 record with a 3.13 ERA during his 3 years at the Class-A level. Steve Neel hit .353 with 60 Rbi's and set an all-time Crab record in 1985 for the most most home runs in a season with 20. In 1984, he hit .403 with 14 HR's and holds the all-time Crab record with 47 career homers. Neel spent 1 year at the lower-A level as a pro where he hit .077 in 39 at bats for the Walla Walla Philles of the Northwest League. Lefty Shawn Hathaway from Washington State logged 3 seasons in the minors at the rookie and "A" levels winning 19 games and losing 13 while posting an impressive career 2.64 ERA in 289 innings pitched. Right fielder Steve Stowell from UCLA spent 6 years in the minors (1987-'92) as a pitcher advancing as high as "AA". He won 17 and lost 23 with a career 4.14 ERA. Outfielder Ray Williamson averaged .210 during his 3 seasons (1986-'88) at the Class-A level while catcher Jeff Hooper hit .231 over the course of 4 years in the minors advancing to the "AA" level with the Williamsport Bills of the Eastern League. Fred Hanker from Cal State Dominguez Hills spent 2 seasons at the A-level and hit .262 in 120 games.

FATHER CHUCK IORG

 BLUE LAKE CHICKS

 OLDTIMER'S GAME

AUGIE GARRIDO

CSU FULLERTON

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BASEBALL        CALIFORNIA BASEBALL HISTORY

  SHAWN HATHAWY

SPRINGFIELD CARDS

     The Iorg brothers (Danish pronounced Orj) grew up in Blue Lake, California, a small town located on the Mad River about 16 miles northeast of Eureka. All three brothers played for the Tigers of Arcata High School after learning how to bat while hitting whiffle balls in their back yard. Garth signed a pro contract right after graduation while Dane and Lee accepted scholarships to play baseball at Brigham Young University and spend their summers suiting up for the local semi-pro Humboldt-Eureka Crabs. In 1970, Dane, a sophomore at BYU and Lee, just out of high school, both went 2-4 in the finals of the NBC California state semi-pro tournament held in Arcada. The Crabs defeated Lovier's Magnavox of Oakland 7-4 to claim their 8th consecutive state title in a row. Burt Nordstrom who pitched for Arcata High School and Humbolt State picked up the mound victory. He would later spend 2 years in the minor leagues at the Rookie and "A" levels with a combined 6-6 record and 4.57 ERA. Dane finished the day (a triple-header) going 7-14 as Humboldt also bested Lovier's 5-2 in the semi-final and the Santa Cruz Padres 7-1 in the quarter final. A year later, Lee Iorg went 2-4 in the state finals, a 6-3 victory, again over Lovier's as the Crabs made it 9 straight California titles.


     As a freshman at BYU, oldest brother Dane hit .319 for the 1969 Cougars. A year later he hit .380 and set BYU single season records for doubles (19), triples (8), and runs scored (58). In 1971, he set school records for hits (79), total bases (138), slugging % ( .853} and batting average (.467, led the Western Athletic Conference). His career .358 average was also a Cougar record. Dane's record 3 doubles in a single game (accomplished twice--'69, '71) was shared with his brother Lee who was a freshman center fielder in 1971. That same year, Dane was named as a first team All-American. His .467 average (182-508) remains an all-time BYU milestone. Garth Iorg's son Isaac remains 2nd all-time at BYU at .464 set in 1999.


     After his junior year at BYU, Lee Iorg played summer baseball for the Fairbanks, Alaska Goldpanners of the Alaska Baseball League. Iorg hit .327 for the league champion 49-17 Goldpanners and represented the state of Alaska in the annual National Baseball Congress World Series held in Wichita, Kansas. Iorg hit a two-run homer as the Panners topped the Liberal, Kansas Bee Jays in the final 10-6 to claim their 2nd National semi-pro title in a row.  Iorg led the tournament in batting (11-22, .500) and was named Tournament MVP. A week later, the Goldpanners won the prestigious Kamloops International Baseball Tournament in British Columbia and took home $5,000 in prize money. The following spring, Lee Iorg set a Brigham Young school record when he hit 3 home runs in a single game. Later that year he was named All-American.


     After graduating from BYU, Iorg signed a professional contract and hit .285 for the Peninsula Pennants of the Class-A Carolina League. The next season he hit .298 for the Visalia Mets (N.Y. Mets affiliate) of the "A" California League. After hitting .267 for the Double-A Jackson Mets of the Texas League, Iorg slipped to .197 in only 42 games for the Triple-A Tidewater Tides of the International League in 1977, his last year as a pro. Iorg averaged .274 with 17 home runs during his four-year minor league career. 

BLUE LAKE

SCOTT CHIAMPARINO

DANNY FRISELLA

GARTH IORG

GARTH IORG


 YR    RECORD      NAT

Lou Bonomini   TOURNEY

1945      11-5

1946      35-12

1947      35-9

1948      24-11 

1949      35-13         1-2   17th

1950      32-9

1951      33-8

1952      35-12

1953      29-11

1954      29-17

1955      26-19

1956      27-10

1957      24-8

1958      17-11

1959      19-7

1960      16-7

1961      21-4*

1962      21-6

1963      27-7*          1-2   17th

1964      27-11*        5-3    4th

1965      29-11*        5-2    3rd

1966      33-9*          6-2    3rd 

1967      28-12*        4-2    4th

1968      43-11*        4-2    5th

1969      29-13*        5-2    3rd

1970      24-14*       

1971      31-10*        4-2    5th

1972      29-12*        4-2

1973      28-19*        4-2

1974      27-12*        4-2

1975      38-7*          4-2    5th

1976      37-11*        1-2   17th

1977      35-5*          3-2

1978      40-10*        ----

1979      37-16*        2-2

1980      45-10         3-2     7th

1981      43-10         2-2

1982      30-18         ---

1983      39-7           ---

1984      38-10         ---

BILL "Bo" Hughes

1985      51-3           1-2    17th

1986      51-8

Tom Giacomini

1987      26-11

1988      34-12

1989      38-5

1990      44-6

1991      36-8

Steve Neel

1992      32-9

Vince Maiocco

1993      31-6

1994      32-9


* denotes Calif. State

   semi-pro champion 

JOHN OLDHAM

  LOU BONOMINI, 1944

     EUREKA TALLOW

          

DANE IORG

CRAIG NETTLES

       The Philadelphia Phillies chose Dane Iorg as their #1 pick (22nd overall) in the 1971 MLB June Draft-Secondary Phase and sent him to Walla Walla Washington of the lower-A Northwest League where he hit .367 in 77 games. After spending 5 seasons in the minors averaging better than .300 each season, the 27 year old Iorg finally made his major league debut on April the 9th, 1977 for the Phillies. After spending just 12 games with the Phils, Iorg and Redding, California's Rick Bosetti were traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Iorg finished the '77 season by hitting .313 for the Cards in 32 at bats. He spent 8 years with St. Louis with a career .294 average as a Cardinal. He hit .303 in 1980 and a year later led St. Louis with his .327 average and only struck out 9 times in 217 at bats.


     Although Darrell Porter was named MVP of the 1982 World Series (.286, 5 HR's), it was Dane Iorg who led all hitters in batting with his blistering .529 average (9-17) and .882 SLG as the Cardinals edged the Milwaukee Brewers 4 games to 3. Iorg hit .294 during the regular season. Three years later, while with the Kansas City Royals, Iorge drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th of game 6 with a walk-off pinch-hit 2-run single as K.C. went on to defeat St. Louis in a tough 7-game World Series. Earlier, the Royals had defeated brother Garth and his Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series. Dane Iorg ended his career at age 36 with the 1986 San Diego Padres. He combined to hit .276 with 10 HR's over the course of his 10 year major league career.  

JIM GARRETT

JAN DUKES

HUMBOLDT CRABS

BILL CRUIKSHANK

1964 CRABS (27-11)--Earlier Humboldt-Eureka Crab teams had won more games in a season but the competition wasn't nearly as good. If only they could have beaten the Fairbanks, Alaska Goldpanners when it mattered the most. The Crabs played the #1 ranked Panners 11 times during the '64 season but only managed to muster three victories. It's of little wonder as the 1964 Alaska, Fairbanks Goldpanners were loaded with some of the country's best college ballplayers, a sign of the future, that included two All-Americans, 10 future major leaguers, some of which became Big League All-Stars, and at least one future Hall-of-Famer.


     Goldpanner third baseman Craig "Puff" Nettles from San Diego State went on to play 21 years in the Majors, most notably as the Yankee's Gold Glover who hit 390 homes and led the American League in homers in 1976. He was a 6-time Major League all-star. Panner's center fielder Rick Monday from Arizona State would spend 19 years in the Majors and was the first player selected in Major League Baseball's first ever Amateur Draft. He was selected first over-all by the 1965 Kansas City A's. Monday's best season was in 1976, when he hit .272 with 32 homers and a .507 SLG while with the Chicago Cubs. Alaska second baseman Gary "Sudsy" Southerland was an All-American from the University of Southern California, one of five Trojans on the '64 Goldpanner team. Southerland played 13 years in the majors while leading the league one year in turning double plays. His double-play partner for the Panners was shortstop Jimmy Williams who later became a Major Leaguer but was mostly noted as a Big League coach when he was named American League Manager of the Year while piloting the Boston Red Sox in 1999. Last, but certainly not least of the star-studded cast of Prospectors was then little-known Fresno City Junior College pitcher Tom Seaver. USC's legendary baseball coach Rod Ledeaux sent Seaver to the Alaska Baseball League in '64 to find out if the future Hall-of-Famer was worthy of a Trojan scholarship.

     It was "Tug" McGraw of the world champion Phillies who coined the phrase, "You gotta believe". Perhaps Hughes picked up this message from former Crab player Augie Garrido and passed it on to his 1985 Crabs. "Bo" was an assistant coach (1984-'86) under the legendary manager when Cal State Fullerton beat the Texas Longhorns a year earlier in the 1984 College World Series. Garrido, The winningest coach in college baseball history has won 5 collegiate World Series and named College Coach of the Year 5 times. Actor Kevin Costner who walked on and tried out for the CSUF baseball team was cut by Garrido but later got the great college mentor a role as Yankee manager in his movie For Love of the Game. Costner, Hughes, and Garrido are regular hobnobbers at the College World Series held annually in Omaha, Nebraska.


     "Bo" Hughes was selected in the 32nd round as a shortstop out of Notre Dame High School however opted to attend California's  University of La Verne. After his brief stint as manager of the Crabs, he moved on to become a teacher, author, lyricist and professional scout for the Rockies, Angels, and Indians. Among his first duties as Humboldt manager was to lure away Fullerton sophomore pitcher Mike Harkey from the Alaska Goldpanners and to sign third baseman Pat Garman who had been drafted twice by Seattle while playing at College of the Sequoias. Garman turned down the Mariner offer and instead accepted a scholarship from Fullerton State. He hit well over .300 with 8 home runs for the Crabs during the summer of '85 and a year later singed a pro contract with the Rangers where he advanced as high as Triple-A with the Oklahoma City 89er's of the American Association. He spent a total of 5 seasons in the minors, all in the Texas organization, and averaged .261 for his career. His best season was 1989 when he hit .293 for the 89er's. Harkey, who would later pitch for the Goldpanners stuck with Hughes for the summer and 3 years at CSUF before signing a pro contract. He was 3-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 1985, 9-6 with a 3.41 ERA (125 K's) in '86 and 10-2 with a 2.72 ERA (101 K's) for the CSUF Titans in 1987. He tossed a 4-hit shutout against Tulane in the 1986 Southern Regional Tournament.


     The 1985 Crabs under Hughes won their first 46 games in a row before kneeling to Mark Jensen and Oscars of Oakland on the final day of the regular scheduled campaign. The Crabs opened the season by hammering the St. Mary's Mauraders 11-3, 5-4, and 7-0 in a 3-game set. Pat Garman homered and collected 3 hits in the opener while Shawn Hathaway and Rob DaYoung combined for the shutout in the finale. Humboldt opened Western Baseball Association league play by sweeping the Oceanside Bombers !0-4, 9-3, and 10-1. Punches were thrown by Crab 2nd baseman Bill Cruikshank after rough play and high-flying spikes around the bag while turning a game-ending double play. The Crabs improved to 8-0 when Scott Chiamparino from Santa Clara University tossed a 4-hitter and shutout the Fairfield Indians 6-0. Humboldt followed with Portland State's Eric Gunderson topping the Oakland Expos 7-3 and then the Crabs pounded the Lodi Winemasters by scores of 15-5, 9-8, and 11-7. In the opener, Garman went 5-5 with a homer. After 7-2 and 6-2 victories over the Eugene Ducks, Larry Manuian and his Sacramento (Elk Grove) Smokies came to town for a 4-game series. Manuian founded and has managed the Smokies for 62 years. Pat Garman went 4-4 with a homer in the 1st game as the Crabs pounded out 19 hits in the 17-5 triumph. In game 2, fire-balling Crab pitcher Mike Harkey out-duelled former San Diego Padre Butch Metzger 4-1. Humboldt 1st baseman Steve Neel hit his 8th homer of the season. After a 4-2 win, Humboldt finished the sweep and improved to 17-0 with a 6-2 win over former Toronto Blue Jay pitcher Butch Edge. Steve Neel hit 4 home runs with Steve Stowell and Ray Williamson hitting two apiece during the Crabs 3-game sweep (12-1, 9-3 and 12-2) over the Stockton Mudville Crushers. Humboldt ended the 1st half of the regular season at 25-0 (10-0 League) after besting the Gilroy County Bees by scores of 7-1, 5-1, and 7-1.

STEVE OLIN

BOBBY DOIG

MIKE HARKEY