READY FOR SOME SOFTBALL IN PALM SPRINGS? AUG. 5, 2013
In 1939 when the girl’s softball season ended in September, an Automobile Agency in Los Angeles threw their hat in the ring — or more aptly their glove out on the diamond — deciding to sponsor a new team in our League. Marshall & Clampett Chrysler Plymouth dealership was the Agency, and Fred Clampett was the driving force of the company. I never did know who “Marshall” was. Clampett had his scouts out and about amongst the other softball teams lining up some very good players — and I was among 5 or 6 “signing” up from our team, the Orange Lionettes. So, it ended up to be a very outstanding team.
We never called Clampett “Mr. Clampett,” he was Fred. A good looking guy, I might add, graying hair, dressed very neatly, sometimes in a cowboy outfit — just like his Palm Springs buddies who were from the “horsey” set like the forever Mayor, Frank Bogert, or the owner of Rogers Stables. Fred was probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s, and you can see I was very impressed with this very classy gentleman.
I would guess that Fred thought he had better get things going to be ready for the 1940 season starting in the spring. We all went off to see Susie Myers, who would whip up our new uniforms. She had spent years in the film industry as a seamstress, and here she was keeping the softball teams looking great in our heavy satin tailored uniforms. We would go to her apartment above the Sunset Strip in Hollywood for fittings. So now what’s next? Where can we be introduced? — certainly not in the softball stadium in Los Angeles in the middle of the winter? But Fred had to take us somewhere for a trial run. He must’ve had this Plan B in mind all along: take these gals to PALM SPRINGS, where it is now the SEASON from October to May, and show them off. He was already a regular in The Springs, and knew all the right people, so what does he do but arrange for a game with the Palm Springs Men’s Softball Team with us. This team would have a few celebrities thrown into the line-up: City movers and shakers, and if some were too old, their son would play, also Mickey Rooney and Frankie Darrow, former child stars from the movie colony.
I tell you when the newly-formed Marshall & Clampett gals heard all this hoopla they were overcome — half of them had never even been to Palm Springs. As for me, I had been going to Palm Springs for many years, and can remember one of the very earliest times we had gone. It was Aunt Mae and Titán, Mom and Dad, Viv & I; and the only thing I recall is driving from Palm Springs to Indio with all that SAND in between, and the road was old wooden planks. Not too many cars out on that road, but plenty of sand everywhere you looked. Sand everywhere, no shopping malls along the way, no TownCenter, no El Paseo. Just SAND.
The Team was whisked off to Palm Springs on a Friday. Everyone
was so full of vim and vigor with high expectations in an unforgettable setting doing what we loved to do. We were put up at the Desert Inn which was one of THE places to be. We settled into our rooms, then the next thing was to go out to Palm Springs Stadium. It wasn’t Angel Stadium at that time — not until they started spring training there a few years down the line. We did some warm-ups, and ran around a little bit to limber up, took a little batting practice, then back to the Desert Inn to clean up and dress up for dinner, and early evening out. Well, we had to get our rest for the big game on Saturday.
THERE’S BEEN NO SOFTBALL SO FAR, AND I AM PACKING IT IN FOR THIS WEEK. I HAVE MUCH MORE TO RELATE AND WILL CONTINUE NEXT MONDAY. WHO KNOWS HOW MANY MORE MONDAYS ON THIS SUBJECT? MY BATTERY RAN DOWN.
MELITAS FORSTER MONDAYS WITH YOU KNOW WHO