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Manteca grad inducted into sportscasters hall of fame
Hall of Famer Joe Cala hugs his wife Bunny and kids Crystle and Scott in a recent photo that marked his 80th birthday. - photo by Photo Contributed

Brother and sister Sadie Cabral and Joe Cala were Manteca High grads.

Sadie operated her beauty salon for over 75 years until her death last year. Her brother Joe went into radio as a sportscaster with KNX 1070 News Radio in Los Angeles.

Cala, who lives in Studio City, was recently inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  His sights are now on garnering more honors as a screenwriter and actor.

After graduating from Manteca High,  Cala did a short stint in Tucson, Arizona before enrolling at Santa Clara University. He transferred  to University of the Pacific for his radio-TV broadcasting major. 

“I had no business majoring in business, and my limitations were unlimited, so communication made the most sense,” Cala was quoted as explaining.  He has maintained his sense of humor throughout his career.

With vocal chords ablaze, after someone told him he had a mellifluous voice, he jumped into broadcasting.  In the early ‘60s Cala entered into a career as a mobile reporter for KABC Radio.  He covered the Robert Kennedy assignation in 1968 and his career evolved into a 32-year-stint as a sports anchor with KFWB Radio.

For the past half dozen years Cala has been on the air with KNX where he shares the mike with sports broadcasters Steve Grad, Randy Kerdoon, Chris Madsen, Geoff Witcher and Joe McDonnell. 

The Mantecan’s early years saw him first competing in Soap Box Derby races.  He could run with lightning speed in high school but he couldn’t hit in baseball and was constantly tackled in football.  Broadcasting and golf were pretty much his game – playing twice a week – hitting in the 80s on the greens. When it comes to holes-in-one he remains in the shadow of his brother Al who has six to his credit.

Cala has also made a name for himself as a screenwriter having co-written “Angel” in 1984 with friend Robert O’Neil. The film earned $35 million worldwide and led to two sequels – having had small parts in the first two of the trilogy.  The former Mantecan dreams of one day having a leading role maybe disguised as a character actor.  Screenwriting, he says, gives a chance at reinventing yourself.

The broadcasters Cala has most admired include Vin Scully and Bob Miller.  From years past he gives the nod to Mel Allen, Russ Hodges and Bill Stern.  Some of the greats he has interviewed and rooted for personally include Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Doak Walker.

Cala’s nieces and nephews Jordan, Melanie, Gianna, Madison and Tea wrote in their congratulatory note:  “If there was a Hall of Fame for Uncles, you would be in there, too!”