A GREAT MAN
Charles Rogers Reid was the second of thirteen children of Thomas
Henry Reid Sr. and Virginia Parker Reid. He was born September
22, 1898 in Angels Camp, California, grew up in Berkeley and spent
much of his adult life in Richmond, California.
Died March 23, 1979
Charles R. Reid was
a man who has been dedicated to keeping kids interested in sports
and away from the evil influences of corner pool halls and rowdy
He is not a member of any service club in town and chances are
he may never be named "Man of the Year" here. But Charley
Reid has done more to combat juvenile delinquency and racial
disturbances than any other individual in Richmond.
Reid, a spry 60, has been playground director at Shields Park
in North Richmond since 1947. During that time hundreds of boys
and girls have come to him for advice and counseling in matters
not necessarily pertaining to sports.
He has gained the confidence of the youngsters because of his
friendly way and his deep-rooted desire to help them regardless
of the day, the time, the place.
The parents of these kids may be too busy chasing after a good
time or an extra dollar to sit down with them and try to iron out
their problems. But Charley Reid is never too busy to come to the
aid of a youngster.
Always he is out either talking with the kids, showing them the
proper way to shoot a basketball, throw a curve ball, pace themselves
for a track event, or grip the bat to lay down a bunt.
He knows what he is talking about because Charley Reid was a gifted
athlete in his youth who used to pitch shutouts at the old First
Street diamond in Richmond and race 100 yard dashes in 10 flat
at Berkeley High and maneuver a basketball with the deft touch
of a skillful pro.
"I played for the Pierce Giants, one of the best colored teams in the
country," Charley recalls. "I used to pitch against such stars as
Chick Hafey, Buzz Arlett, Ernie Lombardi, Lefty Gomez and Walter Mails.
"One Sunday we played the Mails All-Stars at the First Street
diamond in Richmond. Mails threw the fastest ball I ever saw--or
didn't see. No, I didn't get any hits. We lost, 7-2.
"I played for several other semi-pro teams in Vallejo, Martinez
and just about every city in Northern California. Some times I
made as much as $100 for pitching one ball game.
"I pitched the best game of my life in 1923 against the Healdsburg
club, the best semi-pro team in the state. Pop Arlett handled the
club. I threw a one-hitter--and still lost, 1-0."
Loudest Ump In Town
Charley started to umpire baseball games when he moved from Berkeley
to Richmond in 1934.
According to such baseball old-timers here as Babe Matteri and
Frank Banducci, there was none better than Charley in calling balls
"Reid has a terrific eye," said Banducci. "He knew
his baseball and gained the respect of all the players. I never
saw anyone purposely give Charley Reid a bad time."
"I umpired three games every night except Saturday and when
I called the pitches," said Charley, "everybody for
blocks around could hear me. There were a lot of good players around
here in those days and the Sunday games were always well-attended.
"I remember one game between Filice and Perrelli against
Ford Motor Company that drew 5,000 people to Nicholl Park.”You
don't get those kind of crowds here any more."
Reid, among his other attributes, is a great organizer.
"When I lived in Oakland," said Charley, "I got
all the mothers in the neighborhood to go out and play softball
once a week. They got to be pretty good at it, too. I know they
were sure sorry to see me leave the neig
hborhood. That's when they
all stopped playing softball."
Play Until Midnight
Shields Park, under Reid's direction, has been the most active
playground in the area. "Every night we get from 50 to 75
boys out for basketball," said Charley. "They have to
wait in line to get a turn on the court. But everybody is patient
and no one raises a fuss.
"Quite a few of the fellows who play on the high school teams
at Richmond, El Cerrito, Harry Ells and DeAnza come over and sharpen
their game. They all seem to have a good time.
"We have had some fine players develop right at Shields Park.
I mean fellows like Eural McKelvey and J.D. Banks, who are now
with the Harlem Clowns, and Clyde Hardeman and Carl Lawson and
Babe Ruth Williams.
"What made these boys so good was the constant practice.
Did you know on Lincoln's Birthday we had 100 boys playing basketball
at Shields Park up to midnight?
"Sports are the best thing for them. It is help keep their
bodies and minds busy. They don't have time to get into trouble”.
"Colored and white play together".
(From the column "On The
Richmond Independent Sports Editor Ed Levitt 1958/1959)