Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Afternoon With Del, Arky, Walter, Willard and a Fender Stratocaster

By Allen Bacon
Daily Bosco

Photo: Eric Clapton, plays his signature Fender Stratocaster. The Bosco Editor closed his eyes and pretended to be EC at the Fullerton Museum.

When you are born in Fullerton California they give you an Orange, a baseball, a baseball mitt and a Fender Guitar or Bass (your choice...I got a Fender F-65 acoustic) and then they slap you on the butt and then you start your life.

It is your birthright. They also tried to give out Toyo tires but that never quite caught on.

My friend and fellow four time NCAA Champion Cal State Fullerton Baseball fan Tom Elliot (not to be confused with Tom Falvai my other good friend who has become the unofficial team mascot) and I were getting caught up over the weekend at Tom's very cool vintage sports memorabilia shop, Pastimes Collectibles in downtown Fullerton.

Oh, before I go on, Pastimes Collectibles is located in an old converted hotel. It's called the Villa Del Sol now but back in the day it used to be a Hotel called the California Hotel. Since Eagles front men Glen Frey and Don Henley used to hang out in Fullerton with Jackson see where I'm going with this? This building was the inspiration for "Hotel California".

Anyway, I'm getting more and more envious of Tom by the second because he just told me that he is heading to Florida for the opening series between the Florida Gators and the four Time NCAA National Champion Cal State Fullerton Titans. Then he reminds me about his wonderful season tickets...the best seats in Goodwin Field. I'm on my heals now but I come back strong with a "well...welll...I'm going to see TCU against the four Time NCAA National Champion Cal State Fullerton Titans before heading out to Arizona to catch a bunch of Preseason MLB Games."

I figure we're even and then he lays on me the fact that he helped install this very cool exhibition about the history of Fullerton Baseball a few years back at the Fullerton Museum (which is a converted library where my Mom and my Aunt Doretta used to take me when I was preschool age...but that's another story for another day) and he just happens to have the stuff in his shop.

So if you're keeping score at home it's Tom 3, Your Bosco editor 2 and Tom has won in the bottom of the ninth with a walk off homerun.

So this baseball exhibit sounded intriguing. Because any Red-blooded Fullerton male will tell you that we have more Hall of Famers per square mile than any town. The greatest pitcher of all time....The Big Train Walter Johnson, Arky Vaughan, Gary Carter, and Willard Hershbarger all played as kids on Fullerton soil and they played for Fullerton High School (well Gary Carter went to Sunny Hills in Fullerton along with Jackson Browne...but we won't hold that against him). Then there are the guys who should be in the hall of fame. Guys like Del Crandall, Steve Busby, Keith Ginter, Jeff Robinson, Phil Nevin, Aaron Rowan, and others who all played in Fullerton.

So I went to checked out all the cool stuff in the exhibit like the 1905, 1927, 1930, and 1932 team photos from the Fullerton High School Indian baseball teams. Which gave me a great idea. Those flannel uniforms were so cool with the Indian Head logo, they have to bring back this retro style to the current team this year before they have to drop the Native American symbol with that proposed California State law. (Which by the way makes me furious because I've talked to many Native Americans over the years that have no problem with Fullerton High School being called the Indians as long as it is tastefully done...but I digress). There was other stuff, like Walter Johnson's glove and original baseball card and much more. I was in vintage baseball heaven.

After I finished looking at the items at the exhibit I wandered over to the museum and came across another cool exhibit...The Leo Fender Exhibit. For those unaware, Leo Fender was born and raised in Fullerton, went on to start his factory in Fullerton producing electronics and guitars, bass guitars, guitar amplifiers, electronic keyboards. This exhibit had the history of the man and the factory but that wasn't the coolest thing. In the middle of one of the exhibit room...there it stood like a beautiful siren seductively calling out to me...."Play me, Play me". She was gorgeous in lacquered baby blue and chrome pickups...a 1960 Fender Stratocaster hooked up to a Black Fender amplifier. Next to it was a sign reading something to the effect that anybody could play her. You didn't have to ask me twice.

Because it was Super Bowl weekend, I basically had the Museum to myself. And the acoustics were awesome. After tuning her up, I launched into the nastiest blues rift I could conjure up. And they say time travel is not possible. All of a sudden I am transformed back into time with my band in high school with Grant, Steve, Bobby and me and all is right with the world. I was brought back to 2012 reality real quick when my cel phone went off. I needed to be on the other side of town and quick.

I did get two thumbs up from my audience, the two museum desk people. That was good enough for me on this day. Now if I could just find where I parked my 1965 Mustang....

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