Oakland Oaks to be honored Sunday

Oakland Oaks to be honored Sunday

Oakland Oaks to be honored Sunday
OAKLAND -- Ernie Broglio remembers the days when the Giants played in New York, not San Francisco, and when the Los Angeles Angels were in the Pacific Coast League, not the American League.

Broglio is one of several former Oakland Oaks players that will be honored before the A's game on Sunday against Seattle on Turn Back the Clock day. Both teams will be wearing throwback uniforms from their 1955 PCL counterparts, the Oaks and the Seattle Rainiers.

Long before the A's played in Oakland, there were the Oaks, who arrived in 1903 as one of the charter members of the PCL. Broglio was a hometown player, having attended El Cerrito High School.

A right-handed pitcher, Broglio signed with the Oaks right out of high school, convinced after talks with manager Augie Galan and first baseman Jim Marshall. Broglio played parts of three seasons with the Oaks from 1953-55, but spent most of his time in the California League with Modesto and Stockton.

It was a different time then. Most teams in the PCL weren't affiliated with just one team, but instead were open to having players from any of the 16 Major League clubs. And Broglio never really thought about making it to the Majors as a young player -- he says the Oakland Tribune put news from the big leagues on the back page, with the front of the sports page reserved for the PCL.

Many of the players Broglio played with actually preferred the PCL for one very important reason.

"A lot of players that came from the big leagues to the Coast League, they didn't want to go back to the big leagues because they were making more money in the Coast League, which made it kind of interesting," Broglio said.

The players perhaps weren't as scrutinized as their modern counterparts, either. Broglio had one teammate with the Oaks named Allen "Two Gun" Gettel, who would ride a horse in from left field, firing his pair of six-shooters, before stopping at the mound, putting on his cleats and beginning his warm up.

Broglio went on to make the Majors with the Cardinals in 1959 before he was traded to the Cubs in the infamous Lou Brock deal in '64.

He says he has no qualms about being remembered as the lesser part of the trade, and Broglio actually attended Brock's 70th birthday celebration three years ago -- he just wishes he would have been part of the 1964 St. Louis team that won the World Series -- thanks to Brock.

But when Broglio and several of his Oaks teammates are honored on Sunday, his focus will fully be on his days hurling pitches from the mound at Oaks Park in Emeryville.

"It'll be nice to get there," Broglio said. "Just happy to be on the field. It's been quite a while since I've been on a Major League field."

Unfortunately for the fans, it seems unlikely that Bartolo Colon, the A's starter on Sunday, will travel to the mound via horse.