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Interesting post and discussion. Thanks, Mike and all.
Riverside is a truely a wasted asset of Victoria. I'm not a native, but I can't help but think that if the City Leadership had ever featured this spot as important, the Texas Zoo wouldn't be in the shape it is, the COMPOUND Ball Parks wouldn't be an ugly eye-sore on Ben Wilson, and the citizens of Victoria could be proud (see Landa Park in New Braunfels).
Rather than champion a tragedy of ignorance (Fatal some sort), perhaps the paper should look into the parks history, and advocate it's future.
Thanks for bringing this topic to the forum, Mike.
MikeVictoria was a much smaller town back in the 40's and 50's. I am sure you walked or rode a bike to ball practice, most kids did.Your mention of Frank Howard made me think back a little further to a Rosebud player named Big John Miller who I witnessed hit a baseball out of the park. The ball was still climbing when it went out of the lights. At that time the Victoria Rosebuds were in the Guadalupe Valley League. This was semi-pro ball and a number of locals played.
I was shocked when I drove through the park recently. I had no idea they tore down the little league fields & completely removed the old playground. The entrance is so sad now.
We used to cruise the park on Sundays but then City Council decided to put up those posts, change the streets to one way & close the circles & that killed that. It was fun for the teens to have a place to go to hang out with friends.
Victoria has a beautiful park, it's a shame they allow it to fall into the state that it is in today.
Thanks for the reminisces, Mike. I didn't make it down to this area till '81, and the only thing I knew of Victoria before then was that it was a pit stop on the way to Mexico, and we would always stop at Sambo's on 59 to eat (anyone remember Sambo's??). When my family moved down here in my teen years, I got to know Victoria very well through my boyfriend and I hanging out in the park and at the Putt-putt place because there was little else to do. But I do have great memories of the park, even through college. I would drive to the park between classes, when it wasn't too hot or cold, and park and roll down the windows and study amidst beautiful surroundings and peace and quiet. I'm not even sure I would feel safe doing that today, and that is a sad turn of events indeed.
There was another pitcher on the same team Joseph Baliga, 10-4 196 era 124 IP, no wonder they won the league championship that year. Oh and Don Miles hit 28 HRs that year along with a 316 BA.
As a team 258 BA, 130 HR, geez.
You'd be hard pressed to find a better bargain in the state than Riverside GC.
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The whole Vine Street entrance is HORRIBLE.
The road is HORRIBLE, full of pot holes and patches. The park signage is really lacking at all three entrances.
10 years ago, that park was pretty full every Sunday. Lot's of people bbq'n, playing ball and yes lots of people just cruising around.
I still go out and play Riverside GC just about every Sunday, but the crowds haven't been around for a long time.
I'm guessing people just don't care to be outdoors as much anymore.
Legion357Thanks for bringing that up, I remember that pitcher …I can remember when an era below 2.25 was the norm and 3.00 would make you a long reliever…Seems like a lot of pitchers had 300 strikeouts and they all pitched over 200 innings…The mound was much higher.
Interesting, I remember hearing about Frank Howard s HR from my dad. I looked up the 57 Rosebuds stats and what jumped out to me was one of the pitchers Chris Nicolosi 21-10 2.95 era 294 IP, and he never did make it to the majors.
You are quite welcome sweet58
Sounds like my relatives…:-)
Now if you remember that Houston Hwy cruise from the old Jet drive Inn to what is now called the Sonic, then you are telling your age…:-)
Was that the Lands?
Thanks for this story. I remember my Dad and uncles going early in the morning or sometimes spending the night to get the right spot. We knew every Easter was going to be at the "Park". Or when relatives come to visit there would be a BBQ at the park. Now our relatives do ever see each other. And then we I was a teenager the end of the weekend was to ride around at the park all afternoon. Those were some fun times!
Thanks Don. =D
For our family, it used to be known as “the park” and everyone knew what you were talking about.
It’s sad that only a small portion of the park, we took for granted, is being used today.
The 500 year flod was in 1998.
I noticed a major change after the 500 year flood. Was that 2001? 2002?
PatAh, the early eighties were my money making days, so I might have graduated from the free outings to the big city malls..lol..Thanks for the info.
I kept trying to remember how I got to my practices and games…My grandkids won’t believe me but a walk from Dick’s to Crain or Memorial was common place…I bet that’s how I got to practices….You have a great memory ,I’m on daily B12 pills just to preserve what memory ,I have…lol
Rumors about Don Miles were common because of who he was married to….He probably was a hustler but he really had a short baseball career.
I am not a native Victorian by any stretch of the imagination, not even a native of South Texas. But Riverside Park has the makings of a really good park. In Austin's Zilker Park (of which Riverside Park has SOME of the qualities) at Christmas there is a HUGE Christmas tree made of lights that people comes from all over to stand under and spin around (yes, even adults!). And like the park in Cuero, Zilker Park has the annual Parade of Lights at Christmas, as well. Riverside Park would be a PERFECT place for those things, except for the fact that there are so many gangs and thugs in town who would take such great joy in destroying such wonderful things. That is why people don't use the park...the City can't have enough police officers to do a thorough job of keeping those gangs and other trouble-makers out of the park so families and others can enjoy it. The park really has a potention to be a beautiful place, and I am glad to see the ball park being made use of by the Generals. I, for one, while understanding all the comments to the contrary, would hate to see the Zoo disappear. But things need to happen to get people back to the park.
I enjoyed the article very much and it helped me to see what the park was like in the past and to recognize just how much it could be again.
MikeThanks for sharing some of the good ole days.I was ten years old when Little League came to Victoria. My Dad took me down to Riverside Park where tryouts and teams were being formed. I recall there were originally eight teams. I was drafted by the Jaycees and part of the Civic League (Optimist, Kiwanis, Jaycees,+one i forgot).The first year we played in York Park which was located near the current H.E.B.on Rio Grande St.The second year we played in the new Jaycee Park near the Vine St entrance to Riverside Park.
Nice article,Mike.I,too,rememebr when Riverside was a park that a lot of people used almost every day,especially weekends. But you only have to go back to the early 80's to remember when it started going downhill. Too many people in Stayton street area complained about the traffic and the golfers also complaoned about the crowds. The parks dept. started fiddling with traffic folws to discourage people from using hte park and eventually it worked! To be fair,though,the floods that ruined acess to Fox's and Grover's bBends contributed,too. Ialso think that the parks dept budget is insufficient for the task at ahnd,thanks to the GOM in town. Very sad to those of us who enjoyed the "old days" of not too long ago.