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A solid call: Scharmann part of Hall of Fame group

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A solid call: Scharmann part of Hall of Fame group

Robert "Bob" Scharmann, who has been a sports official for four decades, will be inducted into Manteca's Sports Heroes 2009 Hall of Distinction next Saturday at the Big League Dream Sports Complex.


POSTED February 21, 2009 5:04 a.m.
During the opening of the Big League Dream Sports Complex, Robert “Bob” Scharmann temporarily came out of retirement to help umpire a youth baseball game.

It was Oct. 21, 2006 and he was given the honor to work that first-ever game at the Manteca facility. It was also a family affair.

“This game was special to me because I had the privilege of working the game alongside my son, Gary, and my two grandsons, Brian and Scott,” Bob Scharmann said. “It is one of my fondest memories of my officiating career, when I could look to each of the bases and see a Scharmann making the calls and wearing the ‘blues.’”

The Scharmann family is expected to be out in full force come Feb. 28. That’s when Bob will be inducted into the Manteca Sports Heroes Hall of Distinction at BLD.

His 2009 class includes Major League Baseball catcher Ken Huckaby, coach Mike Morenzone, former San Francisco 49er pass-catcher and administrator R.C. “Alley Oop” Owens, East Union High athletic director Bill Stricker, stock car racer Ron Strmiska, pro golfer Kevin Wentworth, and the East Union 2006-07 girls’ golf team.

Bob Scharmann remembers Owens in his hey days playing in Kezar Stadium and officiated games involving Wentworth and Huckaby. He also played football at Manteca High during the days of Paul Wiggins, who was inducted in last year’s inaugural Hall of Distinction group.

“In practice, I was more of his tackling dummy,” said Scharmann with a chuckle as he stood in front of his alma mater on Friday.

He moved to Manteca in 1949 with his parents, Robert and Verna Scharmann, attending Castle Elementary School and, later, Manteca High.

Bob Scharmann, who played both football and baseball for the Buffaloes, was a member of the Class of 1953. He also wedded his high school sweetheart, Anna Mae Kajer.

The couple has been married for 54 years, raising three sons and two daughters. For over 60 years, they’ve called Manteca their home.

Family and sports has been the two constants in Bob Scharmann’s life. After his playing days, he wanted to stay close to athletics, signing on in 1958 to referee the Manteca City Adult Basketball League. So began his career spanning four decades that also coincided with that of his work as a professional firefighter. In 1991, he retired as fire chief at the Rough and Ready Island Naval Communication Center in Stockton.

“I was also very fortunate that my (firefighter) supervisors were flexible in allowing me the time to officiate games,” Bob Scharmann said.

In 1959, he began umpiring high school baseball games, joining the Northern California Officials Association.

“I enjoyed the game so much I soon found myself umpiring for the summer Babe Ruth baseball leagues,” Scharmann said.

It wasn’t long before he was bitten by the officiating bug and was soon working football games.

Scharmann, who was a football official for 25 years, worked games consisting of Jack Gatto, another Hall of Distinction member, and St. Mary’s High Principal Pete Morelli, who is currently a head NFL official.

He’s earned several awards, including, in 1995, NCOA Baseball Official of the Year.

After 40 years of officiating, Scharmann retired in 1998. He and his wife spend most of their time traveling across the country in their RV.

“I also spend my free time cheering for my 13 grandchildren as they participate in a variety of sports, including swimming, soccer, football, basketball, softball and, of course, baseball,” he said.

But as a spectator, Scharmann, who is also involved in Manteca Fire Department’s Seniors Assisting Fire Efforts, still can’t help wincing when he hears a voice in the crowd shout “come on blue, are you blind?”

Some old habits are tough to break.

For more information on the Hall of Distinction awards dinner, call (209) 823-7229.

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