DOWNEY Throughout most of the 1960s, Fred Peritore was an exceptionally successful youth baseball coach for Downey teams in the Pony, Colt and Connie Mack leagues, allowing winning seasons, capturing league and tournament championships and sending players on to high school, collegiate and professional careers. .
On Saturday 18 September, several of Peritore’s former players will greet their old coach with a tribute dinner at Embassy Suites’ Brickstones Grill.
At the request of Peritore, dinner is held in Downey, the scene of so many memorable seasons more than half a century ago.
Former players will come from all over the western states to pay tribute and thank Peritore for his hours about the game and in life.
Among those attending the dinner is Phil Meyer, a striking and striking star who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies organization after a great three-sport career at Pius X High School. Meyer explained that Peritores’ success did not come by accident.
“If you were on a team that Fred coached, you expected to commit to a packed schedule of summer drills played between the league and all-star games that would take time that would bleed into the final stages of a school year and usually end just as well. before another began, ”Meyer said.
“Since I can only speak for myself, I can say that I have been fortunate to learn something or two from almost every coach I have been associated with. I was able to see, even if it was used, the tactical genius that Cerritos’ coach Wally Kincaid wanted to show in training, as well as many coaches on a professional level, but measuring myself as a ball player as a result of a union from beginning to end was never greater than with Fred. “
Jack Harrington, another pitching star on the Peritore team, reflects Meyer’s feelings. Harrington posed for two collegiate Hall of Fame coaches, Cerritos’ Wally Kincaid and USC’s Rod Dedeaux. He said Peritore deserves to be rooted in them.
“A coach who is not in the Coaches’ Hall of Fame, but who definitely deserves to be, is Fred Peritore,” said Harrington, who put out a 10-0 season for Kincaid at Cerritos and then beat a national champion for Dedeaux at USC. “Fred was a unique combination of Coach Kincaid and Coach Dedeaux. He understood the game as well as everyone else and delivered an emotional impact on the players that resulted in incredible performance.
“His motivation stimulated me to throw back to back no-hitters in an LA County Tournament. Now it was an achievement I totally attribute to coach Peritore and the amazing team he put together for us.”
Originally from New York, Peritore moved with his family to Downey in 1954.
“It took me a year to get used to California,” said Peritore, an avid New York volleyball player who was shocked that the game did not exist on the West Coast. He also got into fights when his new classmates made fun of the New York accent.
In 1956, Peritore played in what was then called the Middle Leagues and later became the Babe Ruth League. He had a pretty season, led the league in RBI and made the all-star team as a midfielder.
“It was the only time I actually thought I could be a professional ball player,” Peritore said.
The following year, however, he played junior college ball at Downey High. The competition was better and he did not like a good year. It was probably just as well that he did not play college that year. It was Wally Kincaid’s last year as Downey’s head coach before founding the baseball program at Cerritos.
“I was terrified of him,” Peritore admitted.
Although baseball was his true love, Peritore joined his classmates every Friday night to cheer on the likes of Randy Meadows, Dallas Moon and Pete Yoder as Downey won the ensuing CIF Football Championship.
After graduating from Downey High in 1958, Peritore enrolled at Long Beach State. After two years, he left school, accepted a job at Downey’s North American Rockwell and began his coaching career. His first attempt was as an assistant coach in the Pony League. A season later, he became Pony manager, leading his teams to three straight winning seasons, going 18-2 in 1963.
Peritore and most of the players he knew from the Pony League moved up to the Colt League in 1964, and the Fred’s Giants won the LA County Tournament of Champions behind Harrington’s two no-hitters. After an extra season in the Colt League, Peritore and the company moved up to the Connie Mack ball the following year and won the Metropolitan League championship with Meyer hitting a cool .510.
Peritore left both coaching and the Rockwell job to return to Long Beach State and pursue the dream of becoming a teacher. He was hired as a history teacher at Arcadia High School, and in the spring of 1970 he became the school’s frosh-soph coach. He took over the junior varsity team in 1971 for two years and posted records of 23-0 and 21-2. He then founded Arcadia Astros, which competed in the Senior Babe Ruth League. His first team put a 32-0 mark, which gave Peritore a record of 97-3 over a three-year period. His teams won the Senior Babe Ruth National Championships in 1973 and 1977. Although Peritore has retired from both teaching and coaching, the Astros still compete almost 50 years later.
The tribute dinner / reunion begins at 19:00, followed by a cocktail class starting at 6pm Former players interested in attending or sending greetings to Peritore are welcome to contact Dan Armstrong at 949-493-4763.