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The Madera Tribune

Recollections of a good baseball friend

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webmaster | 10/24/12

On Oct. 17, it had been five years since a good friend of mine passed away. He was Frank P. Molina, and I have real good memories of him.

I first met Frank at Seman’s Grocery Store that was on Sunrise Avenue and A Street. I was only 16 years old then, and this last July 21, just turned 82 years old.

We just had moved here from Laredo, Texas, and just finished playing baseball in the American Legion league and made the All Star team in Texas, so while talking to Frank, while he was delivering ice at Seman’s Grocery Store, I told him that I just moved here and that I was looking for a “town team” (baseball team) to play with. He told me that the next year (1948) there was a restaurant, the Redwood Hut, and the manager of the restaurant, Noble Tiller, was going to start a baseball team known as the Redwood Hut.

On Feb. 15, 1948, I was there early, about 10 a.m., so I visited the park that is across from the AM-PM gas station where the Redwood Hut restaurant was before and I met Noble Tiller and the other players that were Frank Molina, Joe Juariqui, Pete Roque, Ricky Bongorno, Bob Dearing, Ray Tyler, Howard Long, Fritz Bowen, Sr., Clyde Bowen, Ernie Bowen, Joe Foster, Dub McCarty and Ray McCarty.

Boy, we had a pretty good team. We used to go play ball in Mendota, Firebaugh, LeGrand, Merced and Planada. We had a very strong team, especially Frank Molina, who was a very good hitter. We also used to play ball in Chowchilla, and Frank hit a home run that hit way on top of the Catholic church. I also saw Frank hit a few home runs that landed in the football fields.

In 1952 the Owls softball team started, and Frank was the manager. I joined the Owls and we played in the Night-Ball Association. Boy, it was the talk of the town in those years, especially when the Owls were playing the Y.M.I.! It was like the Giants and Dodgers playing.

Well, I remember all those good years playing with Frank, softball and baseball, and that’s what I remember of Frank.

Also, after he went to work with Safeway Store where he met by brother Oscar, who worked for Safeway for 41 years.

Eddie Chapa,


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