Biographies of the 2016 Humboldt Crabs Hall of Fame Inductees
Written by Brice Gummersall
Jerry had a very successful career as an executive with the Orange County YMCA before moving to Humboldt County in 1995. In early 1995, Ned Barsuglia retired as GM of the Crabs and they were going to fold. Jerry, after being encouraged by his son Matt (former Crabs pitcher and manager) and fifteen other people formed the Humboldt Baseball Task Force. This group changed the Crabs to a non-profit with a board of directors.
Jerry was President of the Board for the first six years they existed as a non-profit. Two of Jerry’s mottos while President were, “We are never so good that we can’t get better.” and “I am always trolling for talent.” These mottos still drives the Board today. He remained on the Board until his death in 2012. Among other tasks he volunteered to do for the Crabs was recruit talent, create the schedule, and serve as a liaison between the Crabs and the visiting teams.
The Times-Standard dubbed Jerry “The Man Who Saved the Crabs”. At Crabs games, he was known for wearing his red suspenders, occasionally playing his banjo, talking with fans about baseball, especially the Crabs, a friendly smile, and funny quips.
Elvira “Vera” Bonomin was born in Eureka in 1917. She was the valedictorian of the Eureka High School’s Class of 1935. She and Lou married on November 12, 1939. She was the Times-Standard’s first ever Mother of the Year in 1956.
Elvira was the quintessential “baseball mom”. She mended and washed Crabs players’ uniforms by herself for years. She would mind their grocery store while Lou was out recruiting for the Crabs and on road trips. She would cook for the Crabs players, let them spend the summer in their back yard or a backroom in their grocery store. Together they raised ten children, seven boys and three girls. All of the boys were bat boys for the Crabs and all of the children helped out at the park, helping with concessions and whatever needed to be done. Four of her boys played for the Crabs. Two of her grandsons Fred Bonomini and Garth Bonomini played for the Crabs. In many ways, she was the backbone of many things done behind the scenes that allowed the Crabs to exist.
John Hardin Oldham
John Oldham was a left-handed pitcher for the Crabs in 1952 and 1953. During this years, he was the Crabs most reliable left-handed pitcher. He play baseball at San Jose State where he set the single season and career record for strikeouts. He is a member of the San Jose State Athletic Hall of Fame. He earned a degree in Physical Education and a Master’s of Education from San Jose State.
He was the first Crabs player to play in the major leagues. On September 2, 1965 he pitch ran for Ted Kluszewski of the Cincinnati Redlegs.
After his playing career, he was the managed the San Jose City College baseball team from 1970 – 1984. He then managed the Santa Clara University baseball team from 1985 – 1997. At Santa Clara, he compiled a record 437 wins, 324 losses, and 6 ties (a .571 winning percentage). He was named coach of the year five times.
Most recently he served as the supervisor of umpire development in the California League (Minor A).
Burt was a pitcher for the Crabs during the 1970 and 1971 seasons. He was a pitcher and a running back at HSU. During his sophomore and junior baseball seasons, he led the league in strikeouts and ERA. During the 1971 HSU football season, he led the team in rushing. He is a member of both the Arcata High Hall of Fame and HSU’s Hall of Fame. He was ranked #84 on the Times-Standard’s North Coast Athletes of the 20th Century. He was also on the Times-Standard’s All-Time North Coast Baseball Team.
He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 24th round of the 1972 MLB Draft. He earned a 6-6 record as a pitcher in his two minor league seasons. After his playing career, he returned to HSU and successfully held numerous positions, including Vice President of Academic Affairs and Director of University Center. He currently is the radio commentator for HSU football.
Bruce was a catcher for the Crabs in 1976. He played for the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 5th round of the 1976 MLB Draft. He made his MLB on August 18, 1978, his 23rd birthday. He played for the Braves from 1978 – 1989. He was an All-Star in 1981 and 1983. He played in 982 games with: 696 hits, 260 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and a .619 on base percentage.
He currently runs the Bruce Benedict Baseball Academy. He is also a scout for the Chicago White Sox, and is a NCAA Division I Men’s basketball referee.
Mark was a catcher for the Crabs in 1980 and 1981. For the Crabs in 1980, he hit 13 homeruns. In 1981, he hit 13 homeruns, had 50 RBI and a .412 batting average. Along with fellow Crabs Hall of Fame 2016 inductee Jim Wilson, he was co MVP for the Crabs.
He was a catcher at Fullerton State and played for fellow Crabs Hall of Famer Augie Garrido. He was drafted twice by the LA Dodgers: in the 34th round of the 1978 MLB draft (out of high school) and in the 10th round of the 1981 MLB Draft. He didn’t sign each of these two times to keep his college eligibility. He was drafted, and signed, by the Kansas City Royals in the 12th round of the 1982 draft. He played in the minors for three seasons. He currently is the VP of Finance at Cache Creek Casino and resort.
Jim played for the Crabs in 1981 and 1982. He primarily played first base. For the Crabs in 1981, he hit 12 home runs, had 58 RBI, a .414 avg. and played in 52 games. Along with fellow Crabs Hall of Fame 2016 inductee Mark Pirruccello, he was co MVP for the Crabs in 1981.
He played baseball and football at Oregon State University. He is a member of the OSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He still holds OSU Baseball’s season records for homeruns (21), slugging percentage (.829) and career record for slugging percentage (.640).
He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 2nd round of the 1982 MLB amateur draft. He made his MLB debut with the Indians on September 13, 1985. He also played for the Seattle Mariners in 1989. Currently he is a radio commentator for Oregon State Beaver football games.
Richard played primarily in the outfield and some at third base for the Crabs in 2006, 2007, and 2008. For the Crabs in 2006, he it .317, scored 30 runs, 29 RBI, .426 slugging percentage, a .382 on base percentage, and had four stolen bases. For the Crabs in ’07, he had a .400 average, scored 29 runs, had 72 hits, 52 RBI, a .511 slugging percentage, a .449 on-base percentage, and had 10 stolen bases. For the Crabs in ’08, he had a .325 average, scored 31 runs, had 40 hits, 30 RBI, a .428 slugging percentage, a .458 on base percentage, and had 19 stolen bases. He was the Crabs’ Offensive Player of the Year.
He played baseball at Cal State Northridge. He was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 21st round of the MLB amateur draft. He played for two years in the minor leagues.
Chris was a right handed pitcher for the Crabs in 2009, 2010, and 2011. For the Crabs in ’09, he had a 0.60 ERA, a 9 – 0 record, pitched one complete game, 2 saves, pitched 45.1 innings, allowed only 6 walks, had 27 strikeouts, and opponents had a .184 batting average against him. In 2010, he had a 1.02 ERA, a 6 – 0 record, led the Crabs with 61.2 innings pitched, had 33 strikeouts, and opponents had a .195 average against him. For the Crabs in 2011, he had a 3.54 ERA, a 5 – 1 record, pitched 48.1 innings, had 39 strikeouts and opponents had a .266 average against him.
Chris attended Valparaiso University. He has pitched in the Frontier League since the 2013 season. He is currently pitching for the Southern Illinois Miners.
The 1999 Crabs Team
The 1999 team was coached by Ken “Shorty” Ames. Al Brisack was the Assistant Coach. The Crabs switched back to wooden bats for this season. They compiled a 45 – 3 record, a .938 winning percentage. At one point they won 35 straight games. They were 6 – 2 in one run games. Nine players from this roster went on to play in the minor leagues:
Pitchers Sean Donlin, Chad Elliot, Joe Gallaty, Tom Graham, Mark Short, and Hans Smith
Fielders Dave Ferres, Ryan Johnston, and Oscar Lopez
Some offensive stats: nine batters hit over .300, scored double digit runs in 15 games, the team had a .309 average, scored 352 runs, had 292 RBI, 220 stolen bases, and a .405 slugging percentage. They had a total of 423 hits in 48 games, an average of 8.8 per game.
Some team pitching stats: Team had 22 shutouts, 16 complete games, a team ERA of 1.63 and opponents had a .187 batting average against the Crabs.
Newspapers & Periodicals
- Arcata Eye
- Arcata Union
- Humboldt Standard
- Humboldt Times
- Humboldt Times-Standard
- North Coast Journal
Articles & Pamphlets
- “Ned Barsuglia: Board Member, General Manager, and Chief Scout” by Scott Gourley
- “The Humboldt Crabs All-Time Roster of Alumni Pros 1945 – 2003” by Dr. Joesph Giovanetti
- Humboldt Crabs Programs: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 – 2016.
Note on statistics: Statistics and recording statistics have changed. The local papers in the 1940’s and early 1950’s only listed at-bats, hits, put outs, assists, and errors for batters. Also, from the mid 1950’s until the mid-1980’s, the local papers didn’t list season statistics for Crabs players, only box scores from most games.