LJYB to celebrate 60th Opening Day

By Tom Murphy

La Jolla Youth Baseball

In 1952, La Jolla Youth Baseball was a brand new league playing on the LJ Elementary School field. Team sponsors were venerable service organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Optimists and REBA. By 1956 they moved up the hill to the fields at Muirlands Jr. High and teams were producing high-performing players.

A few years later the Cliffridge Athletic Area was dedicated and LJYB has been playing there ever since. Thousands of La Jolla kids grew up playing on and hanging out at these fields. It was the only game in town from February to June and this was La Jolla’s “outdoor classroom” to develop skills, learn about teamwork, handle adversity and win a few baseball games. It was kids being kids and it was all good.

Fast forward 60 years, LJYB has a lot to celebrate and Opening Day is the time to do it. All LJYB players and families — past and present — are invited to attend the festivities starting at noon on Saturday at the Bronco Field. Every player from all 40 teams will be wearing their brand new Padres uniforms — 20 different styles going back to the 1948 PCL era — that were generously donated by the Padres as part of their noteworthy Youth Baseball Initiative. Padres President & COO Tom Garfinkel will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial First Pitch and he will be welcomed by LJYB President Jim Benham. In addition, the Padres will have the Swinging Friar and the Pad Squad on hand to get things started, so bring your camera and snap some photos with them. La Jolla High student Vaill D’Angelo will reprise her performance of the Star Spangled Banner from Opening Day last season (she also performed at Petco Park last year.) Following the traditional call to “Play Ball!” by Harrison and Jackson Garfinkel, all the kids will assemble in the outfield with the Padres representatives for a first-ever LJYB league photo. Rumor has it there may even be a fly-over!

Saturday is also photo day for LJYB. There will be a BBQ going all day. Jersey Mike’s will have sandwiches available. The Game Truck will be on hand. Let the fun begin for another great season of baseball at LJYB. For more information, visit

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