History of Canyon Creek Little League
Courtesy of Ross McKeon
Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter in the White House, a gallon of gas cost $1.19 and there was a Miracle on Ice of Olympic proportions. The year was 1980, and locally, Canyon Creek Little League was born.
Twelve teams and 164 players made up San Ramon's newest youth baseball organization, an offshoot of South Danville LL's swollen boundaries. John Farrar was CCLL's first president, leading a league that featured two divisions of Minors and four teams in Majors that used Twin Creeks Elementary School mainly to play games. Board meetings were held at Crow Canyon Country Club, and the choice of the league's original colors -- maroon, gold and black -- were a result of what the local insurance agent Farrar found in the basement of his friend's San Jose-based sporting goods store and not the influence of a USC grad on the board -- a rumor that is pure urban legend.
Rod Rumble, CCLL's initial player agent, was the first president to serve multiple terms -- three in all from 1982-84 following the late Jim Aigeltinger's one year in 1981. Rumble built and painted the same backstop that is still in use at Twin Creeks today.
The opportunity to play CCLL baseball beyond age 12 became reality during the three-year term of Jeannette Wiest (1985-87), who served as the league's first female president, and welcomed the Senior Major and Senior Minor Divisions for 13-to-16-year-olds, a format continued under Jeff Albrecht (1988-89).
The league joined the computer age during Randy Favero's season in charge of 1990, a year that also featured the opening at Central Park of a Lucky A's-sponsored diamond that was dedicated by Major League Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson. Favero suggested a change of league uniform color, but it didn't happen until Jim Candrian presided over the league for two years (1991-92) when CCLL opted for the current look of Navy trimmed in Red and White.
The 1990s saw the league become more competitive in District 57 All-Star action as George Shick (1993) and John Penna (1994) held one-year terms. Jim Stark (1995-96) was president when CCLL beat San Ramon Valley for the '96 Majors' All-Star title. The team, managed by George Tucker, advanced to the finals of Section 3 play before losing in extra innings to Mission San Jose. Josh Butler was a member of the 11-year-old All-Stars that season, the very same right-handed pitcher who late in 2009 season was promoted by the Milwaukee Brewers to become the first Canyon Creek LL product to reach the major leagues.
Following the tenures of Katherine Giunta (1997) and Whitney Bibbons (1998-2000), CCLL secured exclusive rights to a new city-funded field at Memorial, a diamond the league equipped with a $10,000 grass infield that was paid through sponsorship monies raised during Roy Nelson's tenure. The league also held an annual scholar-athlete banquet featuring a local celebrity speaker each spring during Nelson's three years of leadership from 2001-03.
John Neil (2004) and Kimberly Tyrrel (2005-06) followed, the former introduced a T-ball program for youngsters as young as 4 1/2, and the latter helped to reinforce the goals and objectives of Little League Baseball.
Kevin Olimpia's ambitious three-year run from 2007-09 was highlighted by the debut of the popular CCLL Mid-Season Classic, the enhancement of a rookie division to ease player transition from T-ball to Single-A, and development of improved outside training for coaches and players. Kelvin Friedel took the reigns for two more busy seasons from 2010-11. John Morris was CCLL's 18th president, serving for one season in 2012 and introducing the popular Fall Warm Up Days for players 8-12.
The 2013 season was John Struempf's first year as president. It will be remembered as the "Year of the 12's" as CCLL boasted its largest number of 12-year old players in more than five years. 2013 also marked the birth of the CCLL Academy -- a new training program for AA players and above. It will also be remembered for the remarkable turnout for post-season as 110 players represented Canyon Creek during the summer All-Star season.
In 2014, under Struempf, CCLL returned to Upper Division (ages 13 and up) play with two teams in the new Intermediate (50/70) Division. CCLL’s House team won the Juniors 80’s TOC while the Gold team brought home the District 57 championship and secured a birth to the Little League Intermediate World Series in Livermore. Championship banners weren’t limited to the 13-year old teams in 2014. The CCLL District 9/10 team won both the District 57 and Section 3 championships as those banners hang proudly at Memorial Park.
In 2015, Trevor Corkery has taken over as the 20th president of a league that stands strong today -- a league that has seen 35 seasons of growth, development and the opportunity for young players to learn, compete and enjoy the great game of baseball.
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