(reprinted from Hardball Magazine. July 2008.)
He once played hoops with Clark Gable, got a ride home from
Dale Evans and caddied for Hollywood stars like Bob Hope.
But it is 62-year-old Bob Rice’s role as a member and current
commissioner of the San Francisco Bay Area MSBL that prompted his inclusion in the honor roll section of HardBall Magazine
"Bob Rice has been through thick and thin with the Bay Area
MSBL and is one of the main reasons why that league has thrived
and maintained its good reputation," said MSBL National president
Steve Sigler. The Bay Area league now
has 23 teams in three age divisions: 25,
35 and 45. ‘
With Rice’s help, the league overcame
a scandal in which a former league official
was believed to have siphoned off a large
sum of money. “We have implemented checks and
balances and an outside audit to prevent
this from ever occurring againt," Rice " ,
Although he hopes the situation was
unique, he felt that the Bay Area experi
ence should be a "heads up" for other leagues.
Rice, who played high school, American Legion and college
baseball as a young man in Southern California, rediscovered base-
ball with the Bay Area MSBL in 1991 at the age of45. He still plays
in both the 35- and 45-and-over division.
In 1992, Rice became a Bay Area MSBL board member. He`s
served two stints as league commissioner. He grew up in Encino,
California in what he calls, "a totally different era; the San Fernando
Valley had more orange and walnut trees than people"
Once, in the
early fifties, Rice was shooting baskets at an Encino park when a
man passing by stopped to watch. "So I threw him the ball and we
both took some shots. He was a very nice man and I remember most
ly his mustache and smile," Rice recalled. "After he left, a woman
came over to me and told me when I got home to tcll my mom that I
just played basketball with Clark Gable.
“ After being kicked in the head by a horse at some local stables,
he was attended to by none other than Dale Evans—yes, that Dale
Evans. “After hugging and comforting me, she put me in her woody
station wagon and drove me home...she told my mom the only rea-
son I probably wasn’t killed was the pony had not been shoed, be-
cause the ranch hand was on a bit of a drinking binge and missed a
couple ofdays ofwork.'”
His ftrst ever baseball team (he was seven at the time) was
named "The Spades" after entertainer and one-time Roy Rogers
stunt double Spade Cooley. Cooley was convicted in 1961 of beat
ing his wife Ella Mae to death, and was paroled eight years later
with help from pals in the movie business, including then-Govemor
Rice played three years of varsity baseball at Notre Dame High
School in Sherman Oaks and helped them to win their first Catholic
League State title as well as three Southern California American Legion District Championships. He walked on at California State University at Northridge and
became the starting shortstop on a team ranked as high as fourth in
the country, with defeats over USC, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona
State. He graduated from Northridge in 1969 with a wife, two kids,“and some awesotne baseball memories."
Rice has a long history of entrepreneurship.
In 1978 Rice started Clearly Natural Products, a soap company.
He sold the company in 2005. He also started Euphoria Productions,
a rock promoting company, Candles and Things, Vita gum, The
Soap Factory, Robert Rice and Associates, and California Market
You can cotact Bob here: