CALIFORNIA BASEBALL                                           SEMI-PRO BASEBALL

     The National Baseball Congress was founded by Hap Dumont in 1934 and is considered the best case scenario as far as crowning a National semi-pro champion. The often 32-team tournament represents state tournament champions and automatic berths from previous winners. Qualifying state tournaments include sanctioned NBC league winners as well as at-large invited teams. An example would be a team that plays an independent schedule with a great winning record such as the 1953 Marysville Giants with Fred Besana and their 20-2 record before the start of the Northern California tournament. During wartime, America often coddled some of her best professional ballplayers who played for military teams. As a result, the Camp Wheeler, Georgia Spokes and Sherman Field, Kansas Flyers won NBC titles in 1943 and '45 while the Fort Myer Military District of Washington and the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri Hilltoppers won titles in 1952 and '53. The Ford Ord Warriors with several major leaguers won California state title in 1952, '53, and 1954.

     The NBC held it's first World Series in 1935 when Dumont offered the great Satchel Paige $1000 to bring his Bismarcks from Bismarck, North Dakota (later named the Bismarck Churchills) to Wichita, Kansas for it's inaugural tournament. Paige won four games (a record for most wins that still stands today) and struck out 60 batters as the Bismarcks were crowned national semi-pro champions. Although the tournament was dubbed as semi-pro, several of the players during the tourney's first 50 years were ex professionals, including ex major leaguers. Steve Kemp, future MLB All-Star, who was named NBC Tournament MVP in 1974 while with the Alaska Goldpanners also played in the tournament for the Liberal, Kansas BeeJays. He had a job mowing lawns for the city of Liberal and said it best in 50 YEARSNATIONAL BASEBALL CONGRESS TOURNAMENT--"but the better I hit the ball, the less grass I cut." During the 1950's, the NCAA sent officials (token baseball cops) to the Basin League to make sure college players were actually working at regular jobs and earning their pay. A fine line often separates the distinction between amateur, semi-pro and professional teams and players.

     Not all of the nation's top teams competed in NBC tournaments. Some teams couldn't financially afford to make the journey to Wichita, Kansas for the 2-week tournament or take time off from their own league schedules and compete in qualifying tournaments. During the 30's, 40's and 50's, some of Northern California's best semi-pro teams were from the Sacramento Valley League but only a few competed in NBC state tournaments. Often, 2nd place state finishers would make the journey to Wichita. Also, teams would stack the deck or add top players from other teams to enter NBC tournaments.



   PAT GILLICK--1965




YR    NOR. CA. CHAMPION           CA. ST. CHAMPION                  RUNNER-UP                       AT WICHITA

1945                                                         ATWATER   PACKERS

1946                                                         CARMICHAEL FIREMEN             CAMP STONEMAN                 CARMICHAEL                 6-2

1947                                                         ATWATER   PACKERS                 SANTA MARIA INDIANS           CARM. 4-2, ATWATER    3-2

1948                                                         MOFFAT'S  MANTECA                 ATWATER PACKERS                ATWATER                        2-2

1949                                                         BACKERSFIELD

                                                                 COMBS BROS. SPUDS               HUMBOLDT CRABS                 BAKERSFIELD                1-2

1950--SALINAS RODEO BUFFALOS     SANTA MARIA INDIANS              SALINAS RODEO                      SANTA MARIA                3-2

1952--FORT ORD WARRIORS              FORT ORD                                                           

1953--FORT ORD WARRIORS              FORT ORD                                     SAN DIEGO SKYRAIDERS      SAN DIEGO                    4-2

1954--FORT ORD WARRIORS              FORT ORD                                     ATWATER PACKERS               ATWATER                       4-2

1955                                                        SAN DIEGO NAV's                       LIVINGSTON MERCHANTS    SAN DIEGO                    1-2

1956                                                        MARCH AFB BOMBERS                LODI GUILD WINES                MARCH AFB                   1-2

1959--FISHERMAN'S GROTTO             S. JOSE NESBIT MASONRY         SAN MATEO BLUES                FRESNO POLICE           1-2

1960                                                        EL CERRITO HATZELL RADIO      SAN JOSE NESBIT                 NO ENTRY                       ---

1961--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    WRIGHTS LIGHTING

1962--SANTA ROSA ELKS                    SANTA ROSA ELKS

1963--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    DANVILLE PHILLIES                 HUMBOLDT                  1-2

1964--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    PURITY STORES                      HUMBOLDT       

1965--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    HUSTEADS OF OAKLAND       HUMBOLDT                   5-2

1966--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    MENDOCINO BRAVES             HUMBOLDT                   6-2

1967--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    HUSTEADS of OAKLAND         HUMBOLDT                   4-2

1968--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    SAN BERNARDINO COLL.       HUMBOLDT                   5-2

1969--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    SAN JOSE GAGLIARDIS          HUMBOLDT                   2-2

1970--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    LOVIER-MAGVAVOX                NO ENTRY                     ---

1971--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    LOVIER-MAG. OAKLAND         HUMBOLDT                   4-2

1972--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    SAN JOSE GAGLIARDIS          HUMBOLDT                   4-2

1973--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    GALLAGHERS of OAKLAND    HUMBOLDT                   4-2

1974--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    GALLAGHERS of OAKLAND    HUMBOLDT                   4-2

1975--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    CHICO COLTS                          HUMBOLDT                   4-2

1976--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    FONTANETTIS SAN JOSE       HUMBOLDT                   1-2

1977--HUMBOLDT CRABS                    HUMBOLDT                                    FONTANETTIS SAN JOSE       HUMBOLDT                   3-2

1978--FONTANETTI'S                            FONTANETTI'S                               HUMBOLDT CRABS

1979                                                       SANTA MARIA INDIANS                                                                    HUMBOLDT                   2-2

1982                                                       SANTA MARIA INDIANS                                                                    SANTA MARIA

2003                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                      

2005                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS

2006                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                       SANTA BARBARA                                                  

2008                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                       SANTA BARBARA

2011                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                       SANTA BARBARA

2012                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                       SANTA BARBARA

2014                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                       SANTA BARBARA 

2016                                                       SANTA BARBARA FORESTERS                                                       SANTA BARBARA                                                                                                  




     LEE IORG, 1973



     The Humboldt-Eureka Crabs are by far the most successful team in the history of California semi-pro baseball having won 18 state titles including 15 in a row at one stretch (1963-1977). Most of the top Crab players during this run were local players, ex professionals and college players, mostly supplied by Fresno State. Although the Crustaceans have never won a National title, the Crabs have finished 3rd on 3 occasions. Chico, California native Pat Gillick was named NBC All-American as his Wichita Rapid Transit Dreamliners finished the 1965 NBC Worls Series with a perfect 7-0 record. Gillick pitched a total of 13 innings allowing only one run while striking out 18. He was previously named top pitcher at the Kansas State tournament. In 2011, Gillick was enshrined into MLB's Hall of Fame as a General Manager and at present is GM of the Philadelphia Phillies. Oakland native Billy Martin while serving in the military during also ventured out and played 2nd base for Goodland, Kansas. The Tigers finished 3rd at the NBC National tournament and Martin was named to the All-American team when he hit .560 (14-25, with 2 home runs), 3rd best at Wichita. In 1973, Blue Lake, California native Lee Iorg led his Alaska Goldpanners to an NBC National title. Iorg, who was an All-American at BYU was named tournament MVP as he led the tourney in hitting with his .500 average (11-22) which included a game-winning 2-run homer in the finals.

    The Fairbanks, Alaska Goldpanners are the most successful team in NBC history having won 6 championships including three in a row (1972, '73, '74, '76, '80 and 2002) and placed second on four other occasions. The Santa Barbara Foresters of California have dominated the NBC in the past 11 years having won six of the last nine NBC championships (2006, '08, '11, '12, '14 and last year's title, 2016} to go along with two other second place finishes (2003, '05). Their closest rival during the past decade have been the Seattle Studs who have won two titles (2013, '15) and placed runners-up twice in the past four years. The Liberal, Kansas BeeJays are the 3rd most successful team in NBC history having won 5 National titles (1968, '79, '85, 2000, and 2010) and finishing runners-up in 6 other years. The Anchorage, Alaska Glacier Pilots have also won 5 titles (1969, '71, 86, '91 and 2001) along with 4 second place honors. The Grand Rapids, Michigan Sullivans have won four championships (1960,.'70, '83, and 1984). The Santa Maria, California Indians won a title in 1982 and finished second in 1979 while California's Carmichael (Sacramento) Firemen and the Fort Ord Warriors were runners-up in 1946 and 1951 respectively. The states of Alaska and Kansas have been in the finals more often than any other state with the majority of Alaskan ballplayers being supplied by the University of Southern California, Arizona State and Fresno State, several of which were All-Americans. Goldpanner outfielders Gary Sutherland was an All-American from USC in 1964 while 1973 UBC MVP and batting champion Lee Iorg from Blue Lake, Ca. was an All-American at Brigham Young University.