In parts one and two of a series about Live Oak County baseball coach Vidal “Bear” Molina, I talked about several of us players from his team getting together for a recent reunion in George West. In this article, I share more memories.
Barbara (Bubba) Molina, Bear’s daughter who is now 52, says she remembers watching all the games, and her idol was Rosa Guajardo with her great batting, running and catching as “shortstop!”
Bubba practiced with her brother Eddie and her dad before she joined Little League as left fielder. They would do 15 minutes each of ground balls, fly balls and line drives, and they were harder on her than any of the other girls!
When she was 14, Bear knew that she was ready, and being left-handed, it’s rare that a left-handed player will play short-stop, but Bubba was the best player in that position! I can still remember her stance at home plate because she was also a power-hitter! Bubba is presently employed at Valero Three Rivers Refinery.
Rosa Guajardo said she started playing baseball in the sixth grade, and she always arrived for practice early so she could get the ground balls and played in Little League.
She was indeed, how Bubba described her above when she played baseball! What has stayed with her to this day, is how Bear started all our practices and games with a prayer. She said she became a better person because he would always tell us “God FIRST!”. . who would think that joining sports, still gives us the opportunity to increase our faith?
She related that she was blessed by God to coach five years at George West Junior High. She was working shift work with U.S. Steel, and often she would sleep between games, because she had just gotten off night shift, but she loved it!
Then when she was hired by the school, she was blessed to coach volleyball, basketball and track … all because “if you have someone (Bear) to teach you all these things you can pass it on to others!”
Irma Lee “Sissy” Munoz (Molina) Sharer, attended from Corpus Christi, and she looks the same! Her first marriage was to Eddie Molina, Bear’s son, prior to his death.
Both were very athletic, and she played left field. Under Bear’s coaching, she remembers being 14, and it was fun with him teaching her how to step, twist and turn. Sissy was indeed a power hitter and a fast runner!
I remember being pitcher and later third baseman. Bear taught me how to hold the baseball with my fingers so I could give it a spin so it was hard for the batter to hit.
I remember rushing home after work and eagerly changing so we could go to baseball practice until late afternoon. We never wanted to be late as we ran around the bases and increased our fitness skills. When Bear needed to talk to me on the pitcher’s mound, he always had a calm and kind voice as he instructed me on my pitching.
In the July 7, 1985, Diamond Shamrock men’s and lady’s tournament in Three Rivers, Bear’s Team won first place!
As we left the Buck West House at the end of the reunion, we felt like we had relived our past of “once upon a time” with Bear and Carmen; with wonderful memories of staying fit and enjoying life to the fullest!
Bear, at age 74, is currently receiving dialysis in Beeville three times a week, but he and Carmen are very active as Eucharist Ministers at St. George Catholic church with Father Romeo blessing the beautiful plaque that we gave him in our appreciation for all his years of coaching.
May God continue to bless you with good health for all the good that you both continue to do for others!