Friday, July 4, 2008

On this date in 1960

City Councilmen Maurice Dullea and Matt Talia and on the horse, Police Chief Frank Sapena, played donkey baseball. The photo is believed to have been taken on the Fourth of July in either 1960 or 1961 and probably in Washington Park.

Baseball and the 4th of July go together. Read more about the history of baseball in California in these books:

From Asahi to Zebras: Japanese American Baseball in San Jose, California by local author, Ralph Pearce, tells about donkey baseball. From the book “…playing ‘donkey baseball’ at Washington Park in Santa Clara. In donkey baseball, all the fielders except the pitcher and the catcher were required to ride donkeys. A batter would bat normally, but if he got a hit, he had to ride a donkey around the base paths...[some people] had trouble staying on the donkey…[one time] a batter hit to the outfield but the outfielder beat him to first base with the ball because his own donkey would not budge!”

The Golden Game : the Story of California Baseball by Kevin Nelson

Runs, Hits and An Era: The Pacific Coast League, 1908-1958 by Paul Zingg

This photograph is from the City’s Santa Clara Historic Archives, housed at the Headen-Inman House. You can view it and others in the Silicon Valley History Online collection.