Tracing Tracy Territory: First steps in reviving local sports tradition
by Sam Matthews
Jan 11, 2013 | 2834 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is every reason to believe that the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame will take on a new life.

In last week’s column, which mentioned that world-record sprinter George Parker had been inducted into the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame posthumously, I noted that the Sports Hall of Fame had died less than a decade after its launch in the 1980s.

I asked the question: Is there any interest reviving it?

The answer: Yes, indeed there is.

First to respond was Wayne Schneider, Tracy High’s legendary football coach. Wayne noted in an email that he had talked with Lina Longmire, who had been the last secretary of the hall, and they agreed it was time to get it up and running again.

Wayne noted that Lina said there are funds in a bank account to provide some seed money to get things started.

Lina, whose husband, Jake, was the second president of the Sports Hall of Fame’s board of directors, is definitely on board, she told me.

“Oh yes, I’d really love bring it (the Sports Hall of Fame) back to life,” she said. “There are so many people who are great candidates to be recognized.”

Looking back, Lina said that after inducting individuals and a team in consecutive years, momentum began to wane, and getting new people to join the board became a problem.

There should no problem this time around.

Just ask Larry Minner. The former Tracy Press and Modesto Bee sports editor is ready to take part and feels there are other people in the community who are ready to join.

“I can be one of the old-timers,” Larry said with a chortle. “And there are younger people who I’m sure would want to be involved.”

Larry and I talked about the Sports Hall of Fame after he called to identify Tom Snyder and Steve Trevino as the two Tracy High basketball players in last week’s Remember When mystery photo (see Page 19).

“Tom Snyder is a perfect example of someone who should be in the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame,” Larry said. “He had to be the best all-around basketball player I saw at Tracy High.”

Snyder, who went on to be a starter for the St. Mary’s College Gaels, lives in France, where he played professional basketball. Getting him here for the induction ceremony could be a challenge, but you never know, he just might travel here for such a special occasion.

Retired Tracy teacher Dick Giambastini, a longtime Tracy sports supporter, is also interested in taking part, and I’m certain others will indicate an interest in the next week or so.

This initial response should lead to a meeting in the near future to get interested people together to begin the process of resurrecting the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame.

When a place and date for the meeting are set, we’ll have the information posted in the Press and online at

Our ace photographer

A note on the Remember When mystery photo of Tom Snyder celebrating his buzzer-beating jumper that gave Tracy its 40-38 upset victory over Stagg in March 1970:

The photo, which ran on the front page of the Press, was credited then as “Photo by Carol Costa.”

Carol, of course, was at the game with her then-finance, one Larry Minner, the Press sports editor. They were married a couple of months later, and Carol, known to some as “the dairyman’s daughter,” left the world of sports photography for a long and successful career in education.

Snow drifts and chili bowls

For the first time in several years, I made my way to the snow after New Year’s. And to no one’s surprise after the recent storms, there’s plenty of white stuff in them thar Sierra Nevadas.

We went to Tahoe’s South Shore, where often, after a snow storm hits, the snow melts quickly. Not this time around. Continuing cold temperatures have kept melting to a minimum, and there is snow piled high.

While there for a couple of days with daughter Laurie and her two daughters, we took the gondola from Stateline up to Heavenly Valley winter sports area — not to ski (those days are long gone) but to watch.

Watching the skiers and snowboarders — there seems to be an equal number of each nowadays — we decided to have lunch at Tamarac Lodge, where a number of runs converge.

Remembering my days on ol’ K2 skis, I wanted to sample the classic ski-area cuisine — what else but a chili dog? Alas, they had chili, but no dog. I ordered some, and it was hot and better than average.

Although tasty, the Sierra chili didn’t compare with the real stuff (no beans, no hamburger) at Tracy’s Chili’s restaurant.

• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at
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