March 16, 2001 PROBE

March 16, 2001

QUESTION: You have done so many things about local history. Why haven't you done anything about the local sports figures who have become national heroes in sports? — Sports Fan, Calexico

We've done a lot in PROBE on local athletes who went on to professional careers.

Donna Hampton did a piece last fall on the Mexicali league.

Bob Andrews of Holtville is meeting with people this week to gauge the interest in establishing a pavilion to celebrate sports at the Pioneers' Museum.

Clearly this is a subject on which everybody in the Valley could agree.

If you want to help him build the pavilion, call him in Holtville at 356-2899. If he's not home, try his Los Angeles area number at (323) 933- 2727.

Some people will recognize Andrews as a member of a Valley produce family, Sam Andrews Sons. Before Andrews became a veggie tycoon, he was a left-handed baseball pitcher.


He had just signed a contract with the Boston Braves when his father, Sam, died.

The younger Andrews, just 21, became the head of the family, responsible for his mother and two younger brothers — and the family business.

The first year Andrews waited until the melon season ended before showing up for baseball camp.

"I had to make a choice: give up baseball or close down the business," he said.

He chose the business.

For a time Andrews played for Eddie Maljean's Imperials in El Centro during the produce off-season. Maljean, now 82, is still looking good, according to Andrews.

Andrews thinks there are enough local people who made the big time in sports to justify a pavilion at the museum.

He reeled off names faster than we could take notes. Ed Beechey, now known for Beechey Field in Brawley, ran semi-professional baseball in the Valley for 40 years.

Bob Elliot, a Central Union High School star, became a national star as a third baseman with the Boston Braves.

Danny and Primo Villanueva, Calexico High football stars, took their skills to the pros.

Andrews' effort may come as a surprise to the museum. So far pavilions have been dedicated to various ethnic groups.

But then, athletes make up their own ethnic group, with more in common than they have with other members of their race, place of origin or religion.

SOME BETTY CROCKER COUPONS — I have a lot of Betty Crocker coupons you can use to buy kitchen gadgets and equipment. I also have the catalogue. I don't need any kitchen equipment. I would be willing to give the coupons to a PROBE reader. — Saver, Westmorland

If you want the coupons, call 344-2522. The above reader said she will give them to the first person who calls, and after that, "I won't answer the phone." We hope she will call us to let us know if she found a home for the coupons.

LIKE FAMILY — I am so glad KROP is back. When it left the air, it was like losing family. Do you know if Noel Kelly is coming back? — Country Music Fan, Brawley

We don't know but we are trying to find out.

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