Reservation Sports

Reservation Sports

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Warner's Ranch baseball team. San Diego County, early 1900's

There were and still are teams on almost all Indian Reservations throughout the country.  California tribal teams can boast a strong number of players that have gone on to play on professional teams.

One such Cahuilla player was “Chief” Meyers (Santa Rosa, Cahuilla), who played on reservation teams before joining the major leagues.  John Joseph Andreas (Agua Caliente, Cahuilla), a contemporary of Meyers, probably competed against him in those same Indian leagues.  Andreas was patriarch of three generations of Indian ballplayers.  His son Anthony Andreas starred as shortstop and pitcher for the Morongo Reservation all-Indian team which traveled around inland southern California and Arizona, playing in the desert heat while wearing the heavy wool uniforms of their time.

John Joseph’s grandsons, John Damon Andreas and Anthony Andreas, Jr., both played on reservation teams.  John got his start in a boys’ summer league sponsored by the Agua Caliente Reservation.  Scouted by the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers while in high school, John never made it to the major leagues but taught baseball fundamentals to youngsters in and around the Banning area.

In southern California today, baseball and softball reservation tournaments take place all year round.  Reservations such as Pala, Pauma, Soboba, Morongo, and Torres-Martinez often host weekend competitions which bring together extended family and old friends.  It is a time for food, fun, and shared cultural identity.