Pat Corrales marked his fiftieth year in professional baseball in 2008. He has served as a player, scout, coach, and manager in the pro ranks of our national pastime. Pat was the catcher on the legendary Fresno High School baseball team of the late 1950s. "I think we lost one game in two years, something like that, and it was a big honor just to be on the team. People kind of forget some of the players like Dave Albracht, Chuck Smith, Blair Pollard, and others, but they remember Jim Maloney, Dick Ellsworth, Len Rube, and I guess, Pat Corrales, but it was a heck of a team there right through the roster." Pat said recently, "I got a big kick out of the fact that the head coach at UCLA, Art Reichle, tried to recruit all of us to go to UCLA because USC was the big powerhouse at the time, and some guys did go with the Bruins. I think, if I am not mistaken, we still hold the national record for the most consecutive wins for a high school team. Ollie Bidwell was just a great coach."
"Back in those days, there were no restrictions about how much players could practice or play," Corrales remembers, "I mean we played all the time. We played American Legion ball together, we played high school ball together, semi-pro together, same guys, same team We just changed uniforms-same coaches, same pitchers, same catchers, heck we just played a whole lot of baseball. And at that time, you hadn't even heard about Tom Seaver yet. He was a freshman when I was a senior. And then Dick Selma, and the rest that came after us, I'll tell you, Fresno High was a baseball phenomenon."
After his high school days of playing football and baseball at Fresno High, Pat signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and went off to Johnson City, Tennessee to begin his career. "Probably the saddest time in my life is when I left," says Pat, "I had never been away from home before and it was really a shock [laughs], but I really enjoyed Fresno and that time of my life." Pat was asked why there have been, and still are, so many professional baseball players from the Fresno area. "I don't know. It's conducive," said the former Warrior, "When I went back east to the rookie league, I was talking to guys from like Massachusetts, New York, or Pennsylvania, you know, where they were playing fifteen games a year. I told them we would play like fifteen games in two weeks or so in the Valley," Pat laughed as he said, "They wouldn't believe me, but if you look at it at the time, and it probably still is, the great breeding ground for baseball talent is California and Florida."
On August 2, 1964, Pat Corrales broke into the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent eight years in the major leagues as a player for the Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds, where he was teammates again with Jim Maloney, this time for "three or four years including a trip to the World Series and that was a big thrill," and then he finished off his playing days with the San Diego Padres in 1974. Coaching had always been goal for Pat and he was also a manager for nine years in both the American and National leagues with the Texas Rangers, the Phillies, and the Cleveland Indians, winning a total of 572 games. In 1990, two days after Bobby Cox took over as manager of the Atlanta Braves for the second time, he hired a buddy from his Fresno High playing days, Pat Corrales, to be the Braves first base coach and bench coach. Pat stayed with the Braves and Cox for seventeen years including an amazing stint of fourteen consecutive years of winning the National League East division, fifteen championships in all, along with the World Series in 1995. "Bobby and I were together in Atlanta for seventeen years and it was a great ride. He's the boss and a great friend of mine. I have the utmost respect for him, and to me, he is the best manager in the big leagues and has been for a long time."
In 2006, Pat had both of his knees replaced. The road back was not an easy one for the sixty-five year old coach, but he worked hard and continued coaching the Braves, hitting infield practice and working as the bench coach. In 2007, he went to the Washington Nationals where he is still coaching. Pat lives in Big Canoe, Georgia with his wife, Donna. He also has five children, Rene, Michelle, Patricia, Jason, and Pat.
Shelley Hamlin was seventeen in 1966 when she played in her first U.S. Women's Open. The Roosevelt High School student was the low amateur and finished ninth. That's only a dim memory now for the thirty-year LPGA veteran who retired from the tour in 2002. Hamlin lives in Laveen, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. Hamlin has adopted the teaching technique of Golf Hall of Fame member Manuel de le Torre for over ten years and teaches golf classes for women on a couple of Phoenix public courses as well as bird classes. "I really love teaching golf and Dr le Torre’s method is so simple, it isn’t difficult to get results, : Hamlin said. :I play in a few legend tournaments we have each year; in fact, I won one. I still play a lot of golf, but mainly for fun."
There was no qualifying school in 1972 when the Stanford University grad joined the LPGA. Hamlin said that in those days, they just said, "Come on out and play." In 1973, the LPGA Rookie of the Year runner-up opened eyes by finishing in a tie for second in the U.S. Open. It proved to be her career best finish in a major event. For the next fourteen years, she shot some low scores, but could not put four rounds together. The next highlight was 1987 when she had four top ten finishes, topped by a second in the MasterCard International. In 1992 she had to go to the qualifying school for the first time. "Once I got through the school-and it was an experience-I rejoined the tour and it just seemed a lot more fun. I guess something like that will make you thankful to just be able to play again, but whatever it was, I relaxed a lot. I won a tournament, the Phar-Mor at Inverrary, and in 1993, I won the ShopRite LPGA Classic." Those two years were the first time Hamlin notched six-figure earnings.
Hamlin has been in the locker room to see friends over the last few years and has noticed a dramatic change. "The first thing was I heard about five languages and I’m not saying that is bad, just different," Hamlin said. "The Asian girls are dominating the tour and tend to be more reserved, so you don’t have the same atmosphere. When I joined, it was either American girls and a few Europeans or Australians and everyone spoke English. The girls were more animated and social. Girls now start playing at age five and are often pros by twenty or less. That's why I think our Legends Tour could take off. Who wouldn't want to watch Nancy Lopez or other icons of the game?" Another fond memory she has of when she first turned professional was the Colgate sponsorship of tournaments worldwide. "I remember when we played in the Philippines, I was introduced to President Marcos and got to take a ride on his yacht. Not too many golfers can say that," Hamlin said laughing. When she first joined the tour, Tom Seaver and Hamlin were hired by the California Kaisin Association to sell their product. "This was before he was Tom Terrific.' but he was just the nicest guy. His parents and my parents were good friends," Hamlin said. "After Seaver had won the World Series and was a big star, the families had Christmas dinner together and he still was the same old Tom.He's a special guy."
Hamlin was the first Fresno-born female to dominate golf at a young age. Benefitting from the teaching of early Fresno pro Grant Halstead, she won the junior girls' segment of the Northern California Women's Golf Association at thirteen. Two years later, she repeated that title and added the Central California Junior Girls', San Joaquin Valley, and the Fresno Bee-sponsored City Girls' championship. She played number one on the Roosevelt High boys' golf team. 1966 was a triumphant year for Hamlin with wins in the USGA Girls National Championship and the previously mentioned U.S. Open. That earned her a berth on the U.S. World Cup team and she was voted the best junior female golfer in the nation. Hamlin won four consecutive women's state championships, playing at Pebble Beach while at Stanford. She also captured the 1971 AIAW National Collegiate championship while a senior.
Hamlin also nabbed the San Francisco City title, represented the United States on the Curtis Cup team in Ireland, and was the low scorer on the World Cup team in Australia in 1968. The following year, she was runner- up to Catherine LaCoste for the U.S. Amateur. She served two terms as president of the LPGA in 1980 and 1981 and was instrumental in the LPGA'S move of headquarters to Sweetwater Country Club in Sugar Lane, Texas. Hamlin was once 90th on the LPGA money list with over a million dollars in earnings. Quite a career for a girl who was never a long hitter.
Vince B. Hayes was one of the true pioneers in California bowling history. Hayes earned the nickname, "Mr. First," because he was an adventuresome innovator. He was one of the State's first bowling proprietors, starting in Los Angeles and continuing in San Francisco before moving to Fresno in 1935 to open the Rialto Bowl on Van Ness Avenue.
Hayes was hooked on bowling in 1894 at Hyde Park High School in Chicago where he served as a pin setter for half a cent a line. When he reached California, he teamed with Gus Steele to win the inaugural Southern California doubles tournament in 1918. He was a member of the Schreiber Cement team which rolled a state record of 3,314 Series in Los Angeles that same year. His best three-game score was a 746 and another highlight was nineteen straight weeks with a 600-plus series. He was advised by many friends that opening a bowling house in Fresno was extremely risky because the temperatures of 100-plus for weeks at a time would keep people home. But what the naysayers didn't know was that Hayes was way ahead of the game and installed the first air-conditioned bowling house in the United States.
The Rialto was a success, but smaller than Hayes had in mind. He sold it in 1940 and drew up plans for the Playdium several blocks farther toward downtown-still on Van Ness- that opened in 1942. It was the first to have automatic pin-setters in the Valley. His final product in Fresno was the spacious Mid State Bowl with thirty-two lanes. Hayes was voted into the Central California Bowling Hall of Fame in 1964 and the Southern California Bowling Hall of Fame a year later. He died in 1974 in Santa Barbara.
Jack Horner took a long trip to enroll at Fresno State College and he arrived just in time to play a major role on coach Stan Borleske's unbeaten 1930 Bulldog football team. Old-timers insist that he was the finest Bulldog "linebacker" of his era. Borleske received a tip from his brother about this big, fast, two- port, All-State high school star from Mohall, North Dakota and he recruited the 185-pounder, who was fast enough to run a leg on two Bulldog conference champion mile relay teams. A big backer with speed was a rarity in those days, so he was a load to tackle as a fullback and an excellent, hard-hitting linebacker.
In his senior year of 1933, he was the team captain and an honorable mention on the All-Coast team. He played for another Fresno Athletic Hall of Famer, Leo Harris. Horner once was pictured by Fresno Bee artist Art Buel as "Horner the Great." In addition to being an outstanding athlete, Horner was an honor student. Following his graduation from Fresno State, he went on to receive his Master's degree at the University of California. He landed his first job at Washington Union High School in Easton where he produced two league champion football teams in three years. Horner was on the coaching staff at Auburn Junior College until 1941 when America entered World War II and he enlisted in the Navy. He was discharged as a lieutenant commander and went on to become a highly successful general contractor in Manhattan Beach.
Few coaches have gained the national and international renown of Jerry Tarkanian. He is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable figures in his chosen sport and remains an unparalleled champion in the eyes of even the most scrutinizing of basketball fans. It's quite common to hear that someone has given 100 percent of themselves to their careers and those who have done so often wind up masters of their craft. "Tark the Shark" stands as the embodiment of that ideal. Tarkanian, who graduated from Fresno State in 1955, has always exerted maximum effort to excel, initially at San Joaquin Memorial and Redlands High Schools, Antelope Valley Junior College, Riverside Junior College, and Pasadena City College, followed by Long Beach State, University of Nevada, and Fresno State.
He ruled junior college basketball in California by winning three state titles at Riverside JC in 1963-1964, 1964-1965, 1965-1966 and a fourth at Pasadena CC in 1966-1967. Tark's insatiable appetite to succeed was fed by guiding UNLV's Running' Rebels to an NCAA championship during the 1989-1990 season plus three other Final Four berths in 1976-1977, 1986-1987, and 1990-1991 and fourth place in the 1979-1980 National Invitational Tournament. Tarkanian's superlative JC teams would post 145-22 record at Riverside and 67-4 record in Pasadena for a combined 212-26 total, making him the undisputable king of the two-year college cage culture. JC hoop buffs were being introduced early to Tarkanian's double-barreled strategic genius which combined a fast-breaking offense with a swarming defense. The defense would become famous when Tark went to UNLV, labeling it his "amoeba" defense.
Tark's winning ways didn't change noticeably in four-year college competition as he piloted his quality-crafted quintets to a record of 116-17 at Long Beach and a 509-105 record at UNLV. He came home to his alma mater, Fresno State to finish with a 153-80 record in seven seasons. To his credit, Tark turned the Bulldogs around during his first year back in Fresno. They were 13-15 before he arrived and then went 22-11 during his 1995-1996 homecoming. Two of his Bulldog teams qualified for the NCAA tournament and two others reached the NIT quarterfinals in the 1995-1996 season and the semifinals in 1997-1998.
Overall, Tarkanian-coached teams registered 778 major college wins against 202 losses, ranking him fifth on the all-time NCAA win chart. When adding his JC record, the numbers climb to 990-228. But those numbers alone do not reveal the enormity of Tarkanian's coaching genius. In addition to the 1990 NCAA title and three other Final Four berths, his teams won twenty-plus games in twenty-nine of thirty-one Division I seasons, second only to Dean Smith in NCAA record books. Tark's teams made it into the NCAA show eighteen times. The best win-loss seasons for Tark were 24-2 with Long Beach in 1973 and at UNLV he posted records of 34-1 in 1991, 29-2 in 1976, 37-2 in 1987, and 26-2 in 1992. Notably, he never experienced a losing season with any of his teams at any level.
He coached forty-two players who were drafted by the NBA, twelve of them first round draft picks. His son, Danny was an All-American guard for him at UNLV. Another son, George coached at the Community College of Southern Nevada. Tark was named Big West Conference Coach of the Year seven times, won the WAC Coach of the Year Don Haskins Award in 2001, and was named Coach of the Year by United Press International in 1983.
Throughout his career, Tarkanian was confronted by questions and accusations regarding his tactics and practices. He defended himself relentlessly and never let these off-court troubles interfere with his main mission: coaching champions of character. Many rival coaches have paid high tribute to Tarkanian, among them Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. "Jerry had consistent high levels of success," Krzyzewski commented, "Because his teams played hard defensively. He's one of the truly remarkable defensive coaches." Tarkanian was also an integral part of the efforts to build the Save Mart Center on the Fresno State campus. Since retirement, Tark has conducted a half-hour radio program, has a busy schedule of speaking engagements across the nation, shuttles between Fresno and San Diego, and still finds time to share with his wife, Lois, their four children, and ten grandchildren.