Update: August 29, 2020
When Trevor Rogers took to the mound last Tuesday in his Major League debut, this entire community stood with him.
Carlsbad has often been labeled as a “baseball town,” and it is a designation that this community proudly embraces. Our competitive Little League programs begin here at a young age, and we never look back from there. It isn’t unusual to see every single age bracket during the summer all-star state champions include at least one Carlsbad team in the finals.
Carlsbad’s storied history as a baseball town has several highlights.
On Aug. 11, 1959, Gil Carter, a member of the Carlsbad Potashers minor league team and a former prizefighter from Kansas, hit a 730 foot homer that landed near a distant peach tree. This home run is still widely considered to be the longest in baseball history, and it happened in Carlsbad. There’s a memorial set up at the Cascades at the approximate spot where the ball was hit at Montgomery Field.
In 1971, Coach Dave Perini took over as head coach of Carlsbad High School’s baseball team. The coaching staff included Tom Forni, Gary Whittemore and Richard Mattson. The four men would head Carlsbad’s baseball program for nearly four decades.
Under their leadership, Carlsbad established the state’s dominant program. Perini led the Cavemen to a 105-22 record during his coaching season. Coach Forni led the Cavemen to six of their 11 state titles and never had a losing season.
In 1990, the Carlsbad Cavemen were picked as the nation’s best high school baseball team. The roster included Shane Andrews, who went on to play in the majors from 1995 through 2002 and was the first player to hit a home run in the new millennium. Andrews deserves special mention for his constant support for this community. Shane has returned so much to the youth of Carlsbad as a coach and outstanding citizen.
Another Carlsbad player, Paxton Crawford, played for the Red Sox for two years at the same time.
In 2010, former Carlsbad High School standout Cody Ross was voted MVP of the National League Championship Series. His Giants went on to beat the Rangers in the World Series. Nicknamed “Toy Cannon” and “Ross the Boss”- Cody brought national attention to Carlsbad’s baseball program.
In 2017, another CHS standout, lefty pitcher Trevor Rogers, was a first-round draft pick by the Marlins. Rogers and Ross are cousins. Rogers has had a strong showing in minor league ball over the past few years and first entered the majors this week, where he struck out six batters in four innings in a victory over the Mets.
The list of outstanding players over the past five decades could go on for pages, but should certainly include Brian Hall, John Crider, Preston Ballew, Brian Flores, Michael Perini, Wally Lester, Eric Chaves, Terry Cox, Frankie Rodriguez (“The Loving Flash”), Tim and Don Gadbury, Tim Perry, Kenny Toves, Mark Beeman, Todd and Corey Weldon.
Recently, coaches such as Alan Edmondson and Cody May have continued with Carlsbad baseball’s winning traditions.
The Cavegirl Softball program, frequently under the watch of John Tigert and Jim Sams, has developed its own winning tradition every bit as lasting as our baseball legacy.
“It means pride, tradition and all the things that make up a good program remain intact,” Coach Perini once said about Carlsbad’s baseball legacy. “I remember telling my ’72 team ‘You guys are the grandparents of the guys to come. Break the barrier, and you’ll be the guys who get this started.’”
Congratulations to Trevor Rogers on his incredible accomplishments this week, and we look forward to many more.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway