Tracing Tracy Territory: Farewell to a local sports fan
by Sam Matthews / TP publisher emeritus
Mar 25, 2011 | 3866 views | 5 5 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“I just think there’s something missing. Tracy was a smaller town then. People knew who the ballplayers were, and there was a real scene on the weekends.”

Kenny Perez was telling former 49ers great Ronnie Lott what it was like in decades past when the Tracy Angels and Mi Ranchito Saints were going head-to-head and against other teams in the California Mexican-American Baseball League.

Today, both Tracy teams are long gone, and on Tuesday, Kenny, who was an important part of the heyday of local semi-pro baseball, died at the age of 53 from complications of ALS.

As the two athletes and sports fans talked two weeks ago about participating in this Sunday’s ALS Walk for the Cure, they also chatted and laughed about sports of all kinds.

Kenny said he enjoyed watching Lott play for the 49ers, but had to confess he wasn’t a 49ers fan. Since he was a young boy, he had been true to the Los Angeles (now St. Louis) Rams.

“Oh, I was a Rams fan when I was growing up in Rialto (San Bernardino County),” Lott replied. “After we moved from Washington (D.C.) to Southern California, one of my first big sporting moments was going to a Rams game. But I couldn’t get in — they were playing the Packers and were sold out. I saw other Rams games, though.”

Kenny and Ronnie shared some memories of the Rams and 49ers rivalry of the early years of the National Football League, agreeing that defensive end Deacon Jones was one of the greatest and most inspirational players in Rams history.

It was fun for me to listen to the conversation between the two sports guys. From what I saw and heard, Kenny had a great 45 minutes talking sports with the ex-49er great.

Both agreed they would be at this Sunday’s ALS walk, but it was not to be — at least for Kenny.

His death Tuesday will, however, give greater meaning to the walk for a good many of people, including the former 49er (and onetime Rams fan), who will lead the walkers.

• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at shm@tracypress.com.

Comments
(5)
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LAM75
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March 27, 2011
I totally agree with mtrew! We may or may not know each other, and I have to say the weather couldn't be more perfect. It was great seeing some faces I haven't seen for some time.
shelly13
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March 27, 2011
Where was the support of the Tracy Varsity Coaches?
mtrew
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March 27, 2011
Great walk today! Great weather for a great cause! Good to see everyone there!
jeff@inspect.net
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March 25, 2011
ken perez is an example of how to live your life dedicated to what you love and believe in ... many young men are very fortunate to have had you in their lives. just keep playing the game kenny, we'll catch up with you.
LAM75
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March 25, 2011
I will be one, with many, walking on Sunday to hopefully get us closer to find a cure for this painful disease. From what I know my great grandfather passed away from it. We need to get together and not let this disease take precious lives anymore.

Lori


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