Jim Barr had a rubber arm, and it’s reborn.
The Granite Bay High School assistant baseball coach helped USC win national championships in 1968 and 1970 before pitching 12 major-league seasons – 10 with the Giants. In 1972, Barr struck out Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente for a record 41st consecutive out, then a record, despite never throwing a no-hitter or perfect game.
Turns out Barr was just warming up. He played senior adult baseball in Sacramento for 26 summers, his last in 2012, once posting a 40-1 record over a five-year stretch. Finally, his arm pleaded for no more, practically too sore to lift.
“I had shoulder surgery in 2013, the first time I’ve had arm trouble in my life,” Barr said. “Torn rotator cuff, bone spurs, all sorts of things. Doctor asked me what I wanted to do with (the arm), and I said I wanted to still throw batting practice, and I do. I’m a new man.”
Sun blocker – Jon Osterhout was working out linemen in one of his LinemenWinGames camps recently when the American River College football coach noticed he lost the attention of the troops. Arik Armstead, the 49ers’ first-round draft pick out of Pleasant Grove and Oregon, stopped by for a surprise visit.
Said the coach: “I was in a complete zone, coaching the fire out of our crew on a minimum-contact pass-rush move called ‘dent-snatch.’ The players were totally locked in until I noticed the intense focus in their eyes broke. The whispers began, jaws dropped. Emerging from the parking lot was a 6-foot-8, Zeus-like figure with a barrel chest and long arms, practically blocking the sun. Quickly realized this was not Zeus, but every one of these young players’ idol.
“We took an immediate break, and Arik graciously took the time to shake hands with each one of the LWG clients and spoke about doing the right thing, offering words of encouragement and advice.”
Coates plan – Jalen Coates, an All-Metro basketball guard from Burbank who played at Yuba College last season, turned down a walk-on opportunity at Nevada to play for first-year Montana Tech coach Eric Musselman on scholarship. Coates, a guard, will study business at the NAIA small school in Butte, saying, “I’d love to play professionally overseas someday, but not without my degree.”
Trask pain – Matt Trask, The Bee’s Baseball Player of the Year in 2014 out of Davis, had his freshman season at UCLA cut short. The pitcher had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum but remains in good spirits, he said, and is expecting a full recovery.
Henderson bows out – Danielle Henderson of Sheldon finished her softball career at Cal when the Bears were beaten by No. 3 Michigan in the NCAA playoffs. Henderson earned All-Pacific 12 Conference honors as a utility player, leading Cal with a .775 slugging percentage and 15 home runs. Her 53 career homers are second most in Cal history.
State JC champs – Lovina Akauola of Sacramento City College won the women’s shot put and discus at the California Community College Athletic Association State Meet last Saturday in San Mateo. She put the shot 47 feet, 111/4 inches and threw the discus 138 feet and 1 inch on her first try that held up. Xavier Howell of American River won the men’s high jump at 6-111/2.
Stivers on board – When Rusty Stivers was a senior football player at UC Davis in 1994, a questionnaire he was filling out asked: “What is your dream job?” He replied, “To be the head coach of a small college like Modesto Junior College.” Dream come true. Stivers has been hired as head coach for the Pirates, where he has been on the coaching staff since the end of his UCD tour. MJC opens the 2015 season against ARC.
Versatility counts – After playing numerous positions for UCLA’s football team, Sheldon High School grad Nate Iese has finally settled in at fullback. In his career, he has practiced and/or played outside linebacker, hybrid “Y-receiver,” fullback and tight end. At 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, Iese said he especially enjoys crashing into opponents as a lead blocker and catching passes.
“I’ll do anything to get on the field, to help this team,” Iese said during spring drills.