Swiss Dairy

Correspondence between long time Santa Cruz County brothers captures the flavor of semi-pro baseball era.

James Van Houten writes...

I remember going over to the ball park early on and remember that there were semi-pro games. The only team i remember was the Swiss Dairy team. I think their pitcher was Manuel Netto. In those days the biggest thrill of the baseball games was when somebody hit a foul ball over the backstop and we would run down the hill trying to get the baseball. I'm going to forward a copy of your letter to my brother. He was the baseball player in our family and a historian to boot.

Peter Van Houten responds...

Your memory of old time baseball in Santa Cruz is most interesting. I too remember the Swiss Dairy team in their red and blue uniforms. I remember the fellow who was their manager and sent the kids after the foul balls that went down the hill behind the SCHS field was the manager and maybe the catcher name Sousa? Jess Sousa sticks in my mind. I remember teams coming down from SF to play the Swiss Dairy team. The catcher had a very weak arm, and once the other team learned this fact stealing second base was not hard. I remember a team from the Salinas area with a third baseman name Ace Gallan who took a little step before he threw; I think he had a metal plate in his head. Another team had a second baseman who wore a shirt that said "Chicago." The Santa Cruz fans got on him to which he replied, "I don't mind; I have been razzed by pros!"


Swiss Dairy
Area: Santa Cruz
Year: 1939

Back row (left to right): Cliff Grimstad, Ray Carpenter, Jim Jessen, Luis Panattoni, Henry "Nig" Tamagni (mgr.)

Front row (left to right): Angelo Mungai, Louis Castagnola, Johnny Mazzoni, Lee Tamagni, Danny Sousa, Bill Holton

Missing: "Lefty Pellegrini, Ray Jacobs, Johnny Hooper