The ghosts of Duke Snider, centerfield, Mitchell Page, left field, and Al Cowens right field roams their respective positions waiting for the games to start in the $2.7 million Dodgers Dreamfields complex in Compton.
The Dodgers newly renovated Jackie Robinson Stadium at Compton’s Gonzales Park. Despite the fanfare several months back, politicians mugging for cameras and boasting about what they should have done twenty years ago. There is NO baseball played in Compton even though summer moves toward the last innings. Jackie must be swinging bats against his coffin.
Before the renovation, Compton did not support baseball even though many great players hailed from Centennial and Compton High Schools, especially Centennial.
“It’s easier to go to jail than to play baseball in Compton”.
Centennial’s baseball coach, Gerald Pickens known as Coach G for the past 30 years, has singlehandedly attempted to keep baseball alive in Compton. Several years ago, “The Major League Baseball Academy” at Compton College recognized Coach G’s efforts, and acknowledged his work with the presentation of an Award.
Many of Coach G’s former players played in the Major League, while many other players return and thanked him for saving their lives, taking them off the streets, and teaching them baseball. Yet the fencing surrounding the renovated ballpark remains locked and unexplained.
“Unlock the gates for Pickens”
Of course, the city fired all park and recreation staff, and the parks remain technically closed because of that. That’s no reason why Pickens and his players should not have access to the playing fields at all of Compton’s areas. Give him the key. He’s earned his stripes and the city’s trust. Well maybe not city hall, but certainly among its residents.
Wayne Simpson, a Centennial High graduate who played on the Cincinnati Reds in the early 70s, once played at Compton Municipal Stadium, now known as Jackie Robinson Stadium. When interviewed about the once-thriving African-American baseball scene in Los Angeles said, “I’m not really in touch today,” he admitted, “but I don’t see the opportunities. Most of the players coming out of high school today it’s basketball or football. We had a network — now there aren’t the leagues. You need at least 18 players and more, plus sponsors. A lot of the gang activity took over the parks. Now there is not as much gang activity, but the leagues didn’t come back.” https://sabr.org › bioproj › person › wayne-simpson.
Great major and minor league baseball players once filled the stadium dugouts such as Glenn Vaughn, Alvin Davis, Willie Crawford, Willie Davis, Tommy Davis, and Henry Moore. In addition to the outfielders I opened with, Compton’s major league alumni include Johnny Davis, 1B, Roy White, 2B, Reggie Smith, SS, Don Wilson, 3B, Lenny Randle catcher, and Wayne Simpson, pitcher.
I see Clayton Kershaw’s name, the city of Compton logo, and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation on the marquee, but I know no baseball play. I can’t help but wonder how Compton’s leader’s padlocks turned Dreamfields into Nightmares.
Please come join the protest at 3:00pm on Wednesday August 11, 21 at Gonzales Park for the Youth to be able to practice and play on the fields, that were refurbish for them. Donations are needed to offset the cost to play in addition for much need baseball and softball equipment, also for buses for recently donated tickets for Angels & Dodges games.
CBAT is a 501c3 tax deductible non-profit Corporation tax ID# 95-4743968.
If you have any questions please feel free to call Gerald Pickens 310-901-1153, email email@example.com.
Or contact Navaline Smith, email firstname.lastname@example.org