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Jim Strickland addressing the crowd
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Jim Strickland addressing the crowd. Perhaps Jim was explaining that the east/west rivalry was just for fun?
photo by Dave Hernandez

2001 - San Diego Hosts Labor Day Tournament

Richie accepting the trophy for the Extra Gold
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Richie accepting the trophy for the Extra Gold.
photo by Dave Hernandez
Officially, it was billed as San Diego's Western Invitational Stickball Tournament. Unofficially it was the stickball showdown; a duel pitting the established eastern teams against the rising confidence of the west.

Event organizers sent out posters months before the competitions, stoking up the rivalry. New Yorkers were asked "You wouldn't let a bunch of slow talkin sandal wearing coconut oil smelling punks beat you at stickball would you?"

The flip side of the poster told west coast players "This is your chance to show those meatball sandwhich eating, sweat suit wearing, tunnel driving clowns how to play real sticklball."

Sure it was in good fun, but people did take notice and the hype stoking the player's intensity. The final game came down to a tough battle between the top east and west teams. Bronx's Extra Gold took the prize, defeating the San Diego Knights 2-0, but there's no doubt that the playing field is starting to level. This year's tournament will be remembered as the one that put San Diego on the map as a major stickball center.

See Tournament Summary

San Diego Tournamanet Banner
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The Western Invitational Stickball Tournament was sponsored by ReMax Realty, Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres, the Radisson Hotel, Viejas Enterprises and a number of businesses from Little Italy in downtown San Diego.

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