We’ve often thought about the great baseball traditions for schools in Northern California’s West Catholic Athletic League and schools in Southern California’s Moore League. If you stop and think about players and teams from 40, 50, 60 and even more years back, there are no two leagues in California historically that come close and we’d bet for the entire nation.
So which one should be regarded as the best? In the last five years, maybe it’s the WCAL with a State Team of the Year from 2018 (Valley Christian of San Jose) and usually high rankings as well for other teams in the league. We decided to take a crack at coming up with all-time all-league teams from both, however, and the edge in those lineups probably goes to the Moore League because it would have a Hall of Fame pitcher and the WCAL would not.
Here are the two teams (based on MLB success and not what they did in high school):
ALL-TIME ALL-MOORE LEAGUE BASEBALL
C – Travis d’Arnaud (Lakewood)
P – Bud Daley (Long Beach Wilson)
P – Bob Lemon (Long Beach Wilson)
P – Randy Moffitt (Long Beach Poly)
1B – Ron Fairly (Long Beach Jordan)
INF – Damien Easley (Lakewood)
INF – Bobby Grich (Long Beach Wilson)
INF – Vern Stephens (Long Beach Poly)
INF – Chase Utley (Long Beach Poly)
OF – Jeff Burroughs (Long Beach Wilson)
OF – Tony Gwynn (Long Beach Poly)
OF – Duke Snyder (Compton)
DH – Bob Bailey (Long Beach Wilson)
Others: Milton Bradley OF (LB Poly), Larry Casian P (Lakewood), Bennie Daniels P (Compton), Matt Duffy INF (Lakewood), Aaron Hicks OF (LB Wilson), Craig Swan P (LB Millikan).
ALL-TIME ALL-WEST CATHOLIC ATHLETIC LEAGUE BASEBALL
C – Joe Kmak (San Mateo Serra)*
P – Frank Bertaina (S.F. Sacred Heart)
P – Danny Frisella (San Mateo Serra)
P – Greg Gohr (San Jose Bellarmine)
1B – Eric Thames (San Jose Bellarmine)
INF – Joe Cronin (S.F. Sacred Heart)
INF – Daniel Descalso (Mountain View St. Francis)
INF – Jim Fregosi (San Mateo Serra)
INF – Gregg Jefferies (San Mateo Serra)
OF – Barry Bonds (San Mateo Serra)
OF – Harry Heilmann (S.F. Sacred Heart)
OF – Mitch Haniger (San Jose Archbishop Mitty)
DH – Pat Burrell (San Jose Bellarmine)
Others: Wayne Belardi 1B (SJ Bellarmine), Eric Byrnes OF (Mountain View St. Francis), Mark Canha OF (San Jose Bellarmine), Kevin Frandsen INF (SJ Bellarmine), Jim Gentile 1B (Sacred Heart Cathedral), Trevor Hildenberger P (San Jose Archbishop Mitty), Daniel Nava OF (Mountain View St. Francis), Marv Owen INF (San Jose Bellarmine), Dutch Reuther P (S.F. St. Ignatius), Dan Serafini P (San Mateo Serra).
*Yes, we know Tom Brady (Serra) was a catcher, but Joe did play two years in the majors and this is for baseball, not football.
Note: Sacred Heart became Sacred Heart Cathedral (with girls) in the early 1990s.
Hi Mark – Another consideration for 1B could be Wayne Belardi – graduated from Bellarmine in 1948, and played for the Brooklyn Dodgers + Detroit Tigers from 1950 – 1956. He also played in the 1953 World Series for the Dodgers. Also, I think Kevin Frandsen could be listed among “Others” since he had a 9 year career as a major leaguer? Thanks Mark for all that you have done and still do for Cal Hi Sports. Sincerely, -Gary
Certainly, if you would pick Belardi over one of your own guys you coached (Thames), we’d switch that for a future team. Hope you are enjoying retirement. Know that you still get out to see big WCAL games, especially when the Bells are involved.
Tim Cullen, Serra INF, should be in there somewhere.