Did you know… that Ventura County has a long and rich history of baseball?
“Play ball!” – two words shouted time and again throughout Ventura County and two words synonymous with the game of baseball.
Teams like the Filmore Merchants and the Ventura Nationals filled the long-gone baseball stadium that once occupied the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Even the West Coast barnstorming tours of the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox came through in the early 1900s. These teams included Hall-of-Famers Fred Snodgrass, an Oxnard resident, slugger Tris Speaker and pitcher Christy Mathewson. Even baseball great Babe Ruth made his way through the area and, according to local legend, played in Ventura.
While professional teams did not succeed locally, our county has grown a pretty large crop of baseball players over the years.
Just a few of the local Ventura County athletes that played professional baseball include (in alphabetical order):
- Jack Burnett of Ventura, 1907
- Chris Codiroli of Oxnard, 1982
- Jim Colborn of Santa Paula, 1969
- Jacob Cruz of Oxnard, 1996
- Randy Elliott of Oxnard, 1972
- Carlos Luis “Charley” Hall of Ventura, 1906
- Ed Hearne of Ventura, 1910
- Howard Hilton of Oxnard, 1990
- Steve Hovley of Ventura, 1969
- Eric King of Oxnard, 1986
- Noah Lowry of Ventura, 2003
- Matt Magill of Simi Valley, 2013
- Ken McMullen of Oxnard, 1962
- Randy Miller of Oxnard, 1977
- Bryan Peterson of Agoura, 2010
- Chad Smith of Thousand Oaks, 2014
- And many more
The love of the game
Ventura County has had a long love affair with baseball. Consider the following:
- About 11,500 boys and girls play organized baseball in the county.
- Ventura County has produced over a thousand professional players since the inception of the game. All these boys grew up playing baseball in Ventura County and went on to play in the major leagues.
- Carlos Luis “Charley” Hall of Ventura, the first recorded professional player from Ventura County, pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 1906 and also pitched in the 1912 World Series for the Boston Red Sox.