"BALLPARK RISES ON LEAVEN OF
FREE LABOR, MATERIALS"
Excerpt from the Sacramento Bee Archives - By Max Miller, Staff Writer
While Major League
Baseball may be somewhere in the city's future, a drive by Sacramento's
construction industry, headed by 12 building-craft unions, is humming in concert
toward completion of a $2 million community baseball stadium at Sacramento City
On the construction site, one could stand in the shade
provided by the imposing physique of big Bill Meehan, as he recounts how the
craft unions, from bricklayers and ironworkers to electricians and plumbers,
have put out free-of-charge sweat, muscle and know-how to build the "miniature,
big league" ballpark on the SCC campus.
Between well-aimed streams of tobacco juice, Meehan, the head of the Sacramento
Building Trades Council, recounted recently how the unions "just want everybody
to know that we're not the bleep-bleeps a lot of people think we are."
"It's mind-boggling, what's been done," he said. There's
nobody in town that hasn't contributed in some small way.
"We (the trade unions) came on board as soon as we were
satisfied that this was going to be a community stadium that wouldn't be used
for professional baseball."
It's description as "miniature major league" comes from Jerry
Weinstein, the SCC Panther's winningest baseball coach, who forecasts that the
new, 1,500-seat facility on the campus at Freeport Boulevard and 12th Avenue
will be the envy of every college - and some small cities across the country.
And Weinstein credits the backing of the Building Trades
Council and the generosity of Sacramento building contractors and suppliers for
the realization of his dream of a baseball stadium at SCC.
"Originally we figured that a $200-a-seat donation would have
raised $300,000," Weinstein said as he watched his vision transformed into what
is estimated now to be nearly $2 million worth of skilled labor, concrete and
"The key element was the labor unions who said, 'We'll come
in and build it for you,'" the coach said. It was then we knew that by hook or
by crook we could get the materials.
"The camaraderie that has grown around this project has been
amazing, and the people involved have not been boisterous about their
Although the project has been two years in planning and is
nearing completion after six months of construction, Weinstein sounds as though
even he can't believe it.
With a joyful bounce in his stride as he tours the
construction site, Weinstein gleefully points out the location of the twin
locker rooms, equipment storage, the laundry facilities, umpires' room and what
will be the plexiglass-enclosed "VIP" room behind home plate.
Seating comes next, Weinstein said, noting the possibility
that some local baseball history may be enshrined in the new park with the
installation of light towers that once illuminated old Edmunds Field, the
Broadway home of the revered Sacramento Solons.
Listed among the firms that have donated time and materials
for the 1,500-seat grandstand are Barsteel, Vela Steel, Golden State Erectors,
Camblin Steel Service, Gayle Manufacturing, and Sacramento builder Greg
Lukenbill contributed much of the structural steel and reinforcing iron.
The acknowledged driver behind the project is Mickey Mynsted,
the easygoing business agent for the Iron Workers Union Local 118, who rallied
the unions and others to the cause.
Brought on the scene at the behest of "a friend from one of
the (American) Legion teams," who asked him to help raise money, Mynsted said,
"None of us realized this was going to grow as big as it has."
The unions have used it to advantage as an apprentice
training program, and Mynsted said, "hundreds" of journeymen from the 12 unions
involved have volunteered their services.
"Most of the work has been done on Saturday, but a lot of the
guys are down here working every day in their spare time or between jobs," he