July 21 was my birthday, 83 years old. It’s been 67 years ago, in 1946, while living in Laredo, Texas, where I was born in 1930, I made the American Legion All-Star baseball team as a shortstop, and went to play in Austin, Texas, in a tournament with teams from all over Texas. We arrived in Austin on Friday, July 19, and all of us visited the State Capitol building. And the next day, Saturday, July 20, it had rained, and they were pouring gasoline and lighted it to dry the field; and gasoline was only 16 cents a gallon.
I remember very well the price of gasoline because my uncle, Leo Trevino (not the golfer), had a gas station, restaurant and pool hall; nowadays they dry the baseball fields with blowers.
That following year, 1947, on May 30, my father and I came to Madera; in September my mother, my brother, and three sisters came from Laredo. My father and I worked with labor contractors Juan Contrerras and Gilbert Valdez doing farm work from 1948 to 1949.
Our next door neighbor, Mr. Joe L. Flores, gave me a job at Madera High School in 1950. Working there at the high school, I noticed there were a lot of boys that couldn’t play baseball on the high school team, due to their grades. So … I started the Madera Merchants baseball team, for all those boys that couldn’t play baseball due to their grades.
I had the Madera Merchants baseball team from 1950 through 2001, and somebody noticed what I was doing for all those boys throughout the years. A new high school was built, and the South High School baseball field was named Eddie Chapa Field.