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Al Nunes gets nod as first inductee in Manteca LL Hall of Fame

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POSTED October 25, 2009 2:15 a.m.
Jim Rachels and Rob Gross know that character, loyalty, and courage matter in the world of sports.

And they’re going to do everything they can to make sure those three factors are the central points of Manteca’s first Little League program that is now celebrating its 25th year.

As members of the Board of Directors of Manteca Little League, Rachels and Gross are planning a combination dinner dance and fundraiser as well as a Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It will honor one player and one coach to keep the tradition and the history of the league preserved.

“When Rob and I started digging to see how this got started, we couldn’t really find anything – we ended up having to look really hard to find out how the roots of this really took hold,” Rachels said.

“And we found out it was one man, Al Nunes, who had two friends join him in buying the equipment and starting their own program as an offshoot of Lathrop’s program.

“We just want people to remember who came before them.”

Nunes will be the first person inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Nomination forms will be available for download on the league’s website, and anybody who ever played or coached is eligible for enrollment – based either on their performance while they were a player or a coach or in their lives after they were done playing.

Focusing on the key elements of the game and the positive impacts it has on the lives of hundreds of young people, Gross said, is part of the reason he wants to help show that there are people out there to look up to and respect.

“I want kids to continue to play baseball and the same great time that I had when I was a kid,” Gross said. “I want to have a league where people affiliated with it will be proud, and they’ll have something positive to look back on later in their lives.”

The league will be hosting the induction ceremony and the dinner dance fundraiser – with $30 tickets – on Feb. 27. They are hoping to find corporate sponsorship or donors that are willing to help with the overhaul of dilapidated equipment and neglected fields.

While there is work to be done, Rachels is happy that something is being done to preserve the past and the history of what has been for most of the people involved a thankless job.

“Our legacy is our past and that’s one of the most important things we remember,” Rachels said. “There are people who established this league and helped keep it going for 25 years, and without those coaches, players, and volunteers, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

For more information about the dinner dance or the Hall of Fame, visit the league’s website at www.eteamz.com/mantecalittleleague.
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