This was the program for the 1948 Visalia Cubs, and it presents a great array of old-time ads.
The dreaded mini-Mouse-Bear makes its return, and is joined by an unnamed radio guy who apparently worked for KTKC. Willys Jeeps and Farm Tools was also a prime sponsor (and that's "Willys," not "Willy's, by the way).
You can look through the complete '48 Yearbook after the jump.
We're not sure exactly what year this picture was taken. It appears to be from the 1950s, and it's certainly no later than 1962 (the last year of the old wooden grandstands seen in the background). But it's definitely Recreation Park, and those are definitely children chasing geese with approving spectators in the background. Make of this what you will.
There's a degree of irony in this 1947 picture, but it takes a little research to uncover it. We'll get to that in due time. Meanwhile, do you notice anything strange in the photo? Go ahead, click on it to see the enlarged version. We'll wait.
This was the front cover of the 1947 Visalia Cubs gameday program. We're not sure who designed the creature that served as the team's mascot for its first few years; it sure was cute, though. Sort of like Mickey Mouse with bear claws. Admit it: you're intimidated.
Full contents of the '47 program are available for your perusal after the jump.
Two unidentified members of the Empire Baseball Club of Visalia pose for an 1879 photograph (Click picture for larger version)
It might be a stretch to say that baseball in Visalia has its roots in Northern Ireland. But not much.
When Thomas Fowler was born on March 17, 1829 just outside Belfast, Ireland, his parents couldn't have known that their son would eventually become the patron saint of baseball in a small California rancher town over 5,000 miles away. In fact, they would not have had the slightest idea of what "baseball" was. But Thomas was destined to be first a traveler, then a wanderer, and then a restlessly enthusiastic picture of American frontier success.
Baseball has been a part of Visalia's heritage since 1879. Professional, affiliated baseball has been here since 1946. But no one has really taken the time to compile a collection of Visalia baseball history in one place...until now.
Over the coming months and years, we hope to gradually accumulate more and more pictures, stories, and recollections of baseball's rich past in Tulare County. Through research and some generous donations, we have already collected a fair amount of artifacts. We know, however, that there are more of them out there.
If you have old pictures or memorabilia, we'd like to know about it! Contact us at (559) 732-4433 ext. 18, or email Donny@RawhideBaseball.com. You don't have to permanently donate items; most of the pictures and artifacts you'll see on this site were temporarily loaned. We'll work with you. Just don't keep your treasure a secret!
Additionally, if you're an ex-player or a veteran fan with stories to tell, we want to hear from you too. Do you remember watching Vada Pinson or Kirby Puckett play at Recreation Park? Did you attend a memorable, crazy game back in the 19xx's? Oral history is just as important to this project as pictures and memorabilia, and it doesn't matter if your memories are from the 1940s or the 1990s. So contact us, and we'll talk!
Many people don't realize how deep baseball's roots are in the Visalia and Tulare County area. It's time that changed. And it starts here.