Mentor and volunteer.

David Gustellum Herrera

Interviewer: F. Augie Lopez

Mr. Herrera began the " Los Dorados Tucson Orphan League," and is also the President. He tries to prevent kids from getting involved with drugs and trouble. Mr. Herrera's program teaches and practices discipline. He had an organization for basketball, volleyball, baseball, and softball and was also a coach for the organization. Mr. Herrera started the carrying of the 65 foot cross on "Pichacho de Centinella," on Good Friday, in 1969, which still exists today. People from Oury Park assisted Herrera in making the cross. Mr. Herrera still dedicates himself to volunteer work and today's youth.

When were you born?
I was born on April 25, 1921, on Easter Sunday.

What year did the Oury Park Tigers begin?
In 1931, I saw the Oury Park Tigers play, but they probably started before. They had about six teams: "Los Aztecas," "The Red Caps," a team from San Xavier, and "The Panthers."

Who were the neighborhood activists?
Frankie Woods, Sal Baldenegro, Yolanda Rodriguez, and Jenny Moreno fought for the rights of the students and the barrio.

Who did you admire from the barrio?
I admired Rudy Castro because he played with the adults and he was only a kid. He was the kind of person that was good at everything he did.

What memories do you have of the barrio?
I remember there were sunflowers all over the barrio.

Do you have advice and comments for the readers?
"Learn how to play, to accomplish your goals. From there accomplish other things and appreciate other things. Recognize how important it is, and appreciate it. When you learn on your own you appreciate it more. You can learn to discipline yourself from sports. Helping yourself is better then getting help, and that is the main thing in life."

Who organized the Tigers?
Chilili Molina, and Ben Carbahal. They were also the coaches. They had some good players, too. One of the best players I've seen is Chino Ballesteros. In 1946, I played for the Tigers and had to quit because of sickness with malaria. Oury Park was a cattle grazing area. The owner, Horenezio Hurtada, donated the land in 1930 to make it into a park which is now Oury Park.

What position did you play on the Tigers?
In the old days I used to play catcher. I would compete against Chink Ballesteros, he was the best out of all the state of Arizona. I admired Rudy Castro, he was a really good player.

Who was the best baseball team in the league?
I think it was the Oury Park Tigers, because they were very experienced and always came out on top.

How many games did the league teams have per season?
For the league, a team would play about 13 games per season. The games were at Oury, Menlo, and Manzo Park. The games would be from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Why did the team end?
Sponsors. See, you have to have sponsors. Every year you have to pay the city so much money to play baseball. If you don't have the money and you don't have a sponsor, you can't play ball. They were being charged thirty five dollars per player, and they didn't have that kind of money. All the teams had to quit, all sixteen teams.

Did the girls have a league?
We had two leagues. One for the younger girls, and another for the older girls. I started the girl league around 1950. The girls quit around 1959. The girls played on the same team and the same field as the boys. I would go to each house and ask if their girl was going to come play with us. They'd say, "Yeah." Then I would tell them to go to Oury Park to play. They would say, "Get out of here, the park is for boys. These girls have a lot to do at home, the park is not for young girls." So I had to ask the older girls. Us guys played them girls and the girls beat us, I think the score was 7-6. One of the guys that had rejected me told me the next day that he wanted his daughter to play.


Awards presentation for Oury Park ladies league during
the 1950’s. The young lady in the middle was Connie
Martinez and to her right was Adeline Carillo, the young
lady next to David Herrera was not identified. Mr
Herrera encouraged the female players to participate
in volleyball and basketball to develop other
athletic skills.

Did many people go to the games?
Yes, many people used to go to the games. In one night, there would be three to four hundred people, or more. Then what happened is the T.V. was invented and people would stay home and watch baseball.

Why did the team end?
Sponsors. See, you have to have sponsors. Every year you have to pay the city so much money to play baseball. If you don't have the money and you don't have a sponsor, you can't play ball. They were being charged thirty five dollars per player, and they didn't have that kind of money. All the teams had to quit, all sixteen teams.

Did the girls have a league?
We had two leagues. One for the younger girls, and another for the older girls. I started the girl league around 1950. The girls quit around 1959. The girls played on the same team and the same field as the boys. I would go to each house and ask if their girl was going to come play with us. They'd say, "Yeah." Then I would tell them to go to Oury Park to play. They would say, "Get out of here, the park is for boys. These girls have a lot to do at home, the park is not for young girls." So I had to ask the older girls. Us guys played them girls and the girls beat us, I think the score was 7-6. One of the guys that had rejected me told me the next day that he wanted his daughter to play.

Did many people go to the games?
Yes, many people used to go to the games. In one night, there would be three to four hundred people, or more. Then what happened is the T.V. was invented and people would stay home and watch baseball.

Source: David Herrera 6-23-99


Dave Herrera calling one of many softball games in
the barrios.


The Roses in the late 50’s, David Herrera organized
the girls softball team in the late 1950’s. A goal of the
league was to recruit girls from various neighborhoods
and ethnic backgrounds. Pete Wilkins was the coach of
the team.


Dave Herrera organized the young Mexican American Association
that was linked to the Orphan League, These young men helped
residents of Barrio Anita with home repairs. Some of these
young men were, Frankie Wood, Rudy Aros and Frankie Molina.
(1968)