Sports of Santa Cruz County (Images of America)
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Its inviting climate, enticing rugged mountains, and welcoming beaches have always made Santa Cruz County a haven for athletic activities. A wide variety of sporting endeavors, some beyond the norm, have called Santa Cruz home over the decades. In the 19th century, Santa Cruz served as a springboard for modern surfing. It was an early bastion for organized baseball, too, beginning in the 1860s, and it was home to a series of professional teams as early as the 1870s. Other colorful athletic activities took place here (including fire hose teams, long-distance walking, and bicycling), along with more traditional American sports like basketball, football, boxing, and tennis. The region boasts of a strong tradition of women athletes as well, in particular Marion Hollins, perhaps the greatest all-around woman athlete of the early 20th century.
following decade via the local YMCA, and it was a popular activity for young women until the 1950s. With the passage of the Title IX Equal Opportunity in Education Act of 1972, girls basketball returned to local high schools in the 1970s and has been a popular mainstay ever since. (Geoffrey Dunn Collection.) On the Cover: The 1909 Santa Cruz Sand Crabs of the California League were managed by the legendary Bill Devereaux (fourth from left). The team, playing at what was then dubbed Casino Park,
along with its unique blend of rugged mountains, flat coastal terraces, and welcoming beaches and surf, Santa Cruz County has always been a haven for athletic activities, dating back to pre-European contact. It remains so to this day, with a wide variety of sporting endeavors beyond the norm, from mat surfing to women’s Roller Derby. Perhaps most significantly—and best known internationally—Santa Cruz served as a springboard for modern surfing. During the summer of 1885, three princes visiting
11-0 season in 1986. He was later inducted into the Gators’ athletic hall of fame. He played professionally in the San Francisco Giants organization. (Paula Panelli.) 49 Santa Cruz Pony League all-stars were perennial contenders for both district and regional titles. The 1961 team was no exception. This photograph features, from left to right, (first row) Pete Pappas, Frank Moreno, Danny Braga, Bob Scott, batboy Jeff Gordon, Pete Pini, and Doug Harlow; (second row) coach Allen, John Boegel,
Cruz waterfront. “San Lorenzo No. 2” refers to the lifeguard tower on the Santa Cruz Main Beach manned by lifeguards during the summer season. Due to currents and riptides, the Rivermouth was considered one of the most dangerous swim spots for visiting tourists unfamiliar with local waters. Templeman was one of Santa Cruz’s first women surfers. 105 At age 16, Pleasure Point legend Jay Moriarity received international notoriety when a terrifying wipeout at the massive wave-break Mavericks was
the Santa Cruz Padres of the California State League. In a game against Alameda, Hooper (back row, third from left) went six-for-six (not bad for a 43-year-old), and he won the league batting championship with an astounding .506 average. 25 Probably the most colorful athlete to play baseball in the region was William, variously “Bill,” “Brick,” “Red,” or “Mad Dog,” Devereaux, who was born in Oakland in 1871. He was a fixture in Northern California baseball from the 1890s well into the 1920s,