Walter Johnson
Baseball legend Walter Johnson (“The Big Train”) played for Fullerton High School before moving up to the Washington Nationals in 1907, where he was a star pitcher for an astonishing two decades. Along with what was reputed to be the greatest fastball in history, He was so admired for his sportsmanship that fans would root for him against their own teams. Johnson was among the five original inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
Floyd “Arky” Vaughan
Floyd “Arky” Vaughan was officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. The Arkansas born Floyd was a multi-sport standout at Fullerton High School, graduating in 1930 before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Considered one of the best shortstops of his generation, Vaughan amassed a .318 lifetime batting average, striking out just 276 times in 6,622 at bats. After a 14-year career, Arky retired in 1948, but would die in a tragic drowning accident just four years later.
Amerige Park
Additional acreage was added to Amerige Park, and this dirt field served as a ball field for countless players. In 1934, Fullerton used WPA funds to greatly improve the field, which soon became a training site for farm and semi-professional baseball teams and exhibition games that featured such Hall of Famers as Joe DiMaggio, Satchel Paige, and Bob Lemon
"Alibi Ike"
Fullerton residents were encouraged to come out in March 1935 to watch the filming of the baseball comedy "Alibi Ike" in Amerige Park. Joe E. Brown, one of the most popular American comedians of the 1930s and 1940s, plays Frank "Ike" Farrell, a quirky rookie pitcher trying to lead the Cubs to the pennant. The crew spent several days filming at the park and Joe graciously posed for photos with local residents.
Jimmy Horio
In 1935, the barnstorming Tokyo All-Stars came to Amerige Park to take on the Pacific League’s Hollywood Sheiks. The switch-hitting outfielder, Jimmy Horio, led the Japanese team to a dramatic win in the 12th inning. Born in Hawaii and known as the Japanese Ty Cobb, Jimmy was the first Japanese-American to play professional baseball, enduring frequent racial taunts, before returning home six-months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
John Honus Wagner
Coaching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, John Honus Wagner is shown in this photo standing in Amerige Park in 1938. Despite his long arms and bowed legs, Wagner was the greatest and fastest shortshop in baseball, earning him the nickname “The Flying Dutchman.” Wagner’s baseball card is the most valuable card in the world.
Los Angeles Angels
This photo shows the opening of the spring training camp for the Los Angeles Angels at Amerige Park in 1949, with (1) manage Bill Kelley, (2) coach Jackie Warner, and (3) coach Jigger Statz. The team was a member of the Pacific Coast League from 1925 to 1957.
Del Crandall
To the rest of the globe, Del Crandall was an All-Star catcher with the Milwaukee Braves, but here in Fullerton he was the baseball hero who devoted his Saturdays to baseball clinics at Amerige Park for local boys, and his Sundays to managing the semi-pro team sponsored by his Fullerton Lions Club. He was a part-time car salesman during the off-season, and a sandwich-slinger at his restaurant, Caesar's Family Hoffbrau at 624 N Harbor in the late-1960s. Del Crandall (FUHS Class of 1947), a Fullertonian-at-heart, if not by birth, passed away in Mission Viejo, May 5, 2021.