Retired major league baseball players and city officials convened today at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Compton's Gonzales Park. KPCC's Brian Watt says they celebrated the ballfield's past and made plans for its future.
Brian Watt: [marching band drumming] Former major league player and scout John Young says the ballpark goes by different names to different generations of baseball greats:
John Young: (over marching band) Duke Snider, Hubie Brooks, John Young - we played at Cressey Park. Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis and Ozzie Smith, they played at Gonzales Park. The kids today, they play at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Watt: Young wants to reach the kids today, like the ones from Dominguez High who serenaded the gathering. Young founded Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities – RBI - to attract more city kids to the diamond. Now he’s leading an effort to turn this deteriorated field into a state-of the art sports complex. Compton Mayor Eric Perrodin said the city could sure use it…
Eric Perrodin: We’re trying to change the negative image of the City of Compton and at one time, if you were any type of baseball player, you had to play at Jackie Robinson stadium.
Watt: Perrodin said private donations from the Dodgers, the Angels, Major League Baseball, and charitable foundations will help pay for the renovation.