Call to the Hall: Richard Elizondo

Harlingen is now home to a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Several weeks ago, Richard Elizondo, a Corpus Christi native who is now a financial adviser living in Harlingen, was honored at a ceremony in Corpus along with the 1976 Boys Club baseball team he coached all the way to a Connie Mack World Series title.

Behind solid pitching and timely hitting, Elizondo’s ballclub, which was made up of 18- and19-year-olds from the Corpus Christi area and nicknamed “Bad Company,” beat defending champion Long Beach 5-3 in the tile game held in Farmington, New Mexico.

Some of the members of the team included Kavin Adams, who was the Montreal Expos’ first-round draft pick in 1977, and Lonnie Garza, a longtime Valley baseball coach who has had stints at La Feria and Edinburg Economedes.

“It was quite an achievement,” said Elizondo, a Boys Club member since he was a child who later became involved with the team after he accepted a job with the organization in 1974 and was asked to help coach.

“What made it even more special was that we had come close to winning the title the year before in 1975, but came up short.

So to come back the next year and finally win the title was a very special moment.”

Nevertheless, the achievement went virtually unnoticed for 40 years.

“It wasn’t until one of the former members of the team realized that we were one of the only Connie Mack World Series winning teams that didn’t have its place in the Baseball Hall of Fame and he got the ball rolling to get us in,” Elizondo said. “For 40 years we were the forgotten ones, but we are not forgotten anymore.”

At the April 30 ceremony, which was held at the same Boys Club that the team was first formed at, Elizondo and the team members in attendance all received commemorative rings from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

“To me, the fact that it was held at the same building we got started at made the whole thing that much more special because after we won the title, I remember we returned to the club to quite a fanfare,” Elizondo recalled.

“So to come back to the same building 40 years later, was quite ironic and fitting.”