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  • Another Name on the Baseball

    7 years ago by


    Bob Meusel's signature on the baseball made famous by Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth

    Most Breans are aware, and very proud, of the fact that on October 31, 1924, New York Yankee slugger Babe Ruth and hometown pitching sensation Walter "The Train" Johnson played in an exhibition game near what is now the corner of Lambert Rd. and Brea Blvd. Both of these legends, along with Christy Mathewson and Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, were the first players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    After the exhibition game, Ruth and Johnson signed a baseball for Ted Craig that is currently housed at the Brea Museum. Another player present at that game was New York outfielder, "Long Bob" Meusel. And just as his career was eclipsed by such luminaries as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, this other member of the legendary "Murderers Row" signed the baseball that day. His is one of the other names on the baseball.

    Even advertisements for the game printed in the Brea Progress newspaper relegated Meusel to second billing, listing his name in smaller type, under Johnson and Ruth. A handbill from the actual game doesn’t mention him at all.

    Although his name is seldom brought up when Breans and baseball historians recall that Fall day in 1924, the statistics he accumulated in his 11-year major league career give us a better glimpse as to why he was included on that barnstorming tour in the first place.

    At 6'3", the muscular Meusel was a feared outfielder and considered a solid, all-around player, power-hitting .313 or better in seven of his first eight major league seasons. Hitting behind Babe Ruth in the order, Meusel became the first Yankee right-hander to win a batting title in 1925 with 33 home runs. That same year, he was also the American League RBI champion, with 138. His accurate and powerful throwing arm earned the outfielder his other nickname; "The Rifle", and on September 5, 1921, Meusel tied a major league record with four outfield assists in a single game.

    In 1924, Meusel had a career high of 26 stolen bases and was two hits shy of his career high of 190, with 188. From 1920 through 1930, his on-base percentage career high was .393. Appearing in six World Series, "Long Bob" stole home twice and in a regular season game played on May 16, 1927, he stole second, third and home.

    Bob Meusel and Babe Ruth are the only Yankee players to hit for the cycle three times. Career-wise, Meusel ranks among the all-time Yankee leaders in doubles (338), triples (87), RBI's (1,005) and batting average (.311).

    With statistical superiority to many players in the Hall of Fame, Bob Meusel was considered "grim and unpopular" by fans and Yankee Manager Miller Huggins felt he played with an "indifferent attitude" and "could have done better".

    Looking back at some of Meusel’s exploits during his career, it’s still difficult to understand why he is an almost forgotten character in baseball lore.

    On October 16, 1921, with baseball pals Babe Ruth and Bill Piercy, he embarked on a barnstorming tour of Buffalo, NY, contrary to Baseball Commissioner Landis’ ban against the World Series participants playing in post-season exhibitions. Five days after the tour began, they cut it short in Scranton, PA, but Babe Ruth challenged Landis to act against them....which he did - fining the players their World Series shares, $3,362.26 each, and suspending the players until May 20th the following season.

    On June 13, 1924, with New York leading 10 - 6 in the ninth inning, Tigers pitcher Bert Cole hit Meusel in the back with a pitch. Meusel threw his bat at Cole and charged the pitchers mound, setting off a 30-minute near-riot at the Detroit Stadium that included both players benches, fans, ushers and the police. Umpire Billy Evans, unable to clear the field to complete the game, forfeited it to New York. Cole and Meusel were both suspended for 10 days. Meusel was fined $100, Cole and Ruth were fined $50 each.

    Playing for Cincinnati, Meusel’s final season in the major leagues, on September 12, 1930 during a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Brooklyn catcher Al Lopez drove a ball over the head of left-fielder Meusel. The ball bounced over the wall and into the bleachers at Ebbets Field. Ruled a homerun, this is the last recorded bounce homerun in National League history, as the rules changed the following season to rule bounced HR’s as doubles.

    "Long Bob" Meusel, born in San Jose, CA on July 19, 1896, died of natural causes in California on November 28, 1977 and is buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Not much is known of his life after the end of his baseball career. We do know, however, that there was a reason he was on the barnstorming tour and why he signed that baseball, with Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson, on that celebrated day in 1924.

  • Three Breans Past, Pt. 2

    7 years ago by

    The Delaneys, at home in Brea.

    THREE MORE BREANS WHO have had streets named for them at the Tomlinson Park development in north Brea, are featured in this post. For the official street naming ceremony conducted in August, 2003, City Historian, Brian Saul researched and provided brief histories of the Brea notables who received the honors.  With Brian's permission, BBON is again delighted to reprint three more of these brief histories. Thank you, Brian!

    Delaney Drive - named for H.L. Delaney, a popular young Brea oilman who in 1911 built one of the first commercial buildings in town, the Delaney Building and a rooming house on Ash Street. Delaney was killed in 1918 when a piece of timber from an oil derrick fell on his head.

    Freeman Lane - named for Ray Freeman, the 21-year-old pilot killed while flying the "Humming Bird" during the Brea Air Meet at the Brea Airport in 1926.  The "Humming Bird" was the first full-cantilever, low-wing monoplane built in the United States and was constructed in a garage building on Brea Blvd.

    Tremaine Drive - named for William "Wild Bill" Tremaine who worked with Austrian plane designer Fred Thaheld in 1925 and 1926 on building the "Humming Bird", the first full-cantilever, low-wing monoplane built in the United States. The plane was built in Tremaine's auto repair garage on Brea Blvd. He and Thaheld also built two other planes which were flown out at the Brea Airport.




  • The Brea Sign, Old and New

    7 years ago by


    The Brea Sign, July 2001

    On June 22, 2001, after almost 10 years in storage, Breans were delighted when our most famous landmark, The Brea Sign, was re-placed at the intersection of Brea Blvd and Birch Street. But, why was the sign placed on a rotating post on the corner of Brea Blvd and Birch Street, instead of a bridge?  Why is it standing, specifically, on that corner? Is this the original sign, or was it completely rebuilt?

    Originally constructed  over seventy-five years ago by the Brea Lions Club, the sign was dedicated in a grand ceremony on April 5, 1934, attended by Mayor Lynn Amos Hogue, Councilman Frank Schweitzer, Sr. (who designed the original candilever bridge that held the sign), W.D. Shaffer (a local businessman who funded a significant part of its construction), and former Mayor, Assemblyman (and soon to be Speaker of the California Assembly), Ted Craig, among other local dignitaries. The Brea Sign, over the years, became a landmark, not just for the local community, but for people passing through from neighboring cities.

    After 58 years, in 1992, Breans were disappointed to find their beloved sign had been removed after the bridge holding it was damaged by a passing vehicle. What most didn't know, however, is the sign had been carefully placed in storage and was awaiting renovation and reconstruction for an eventual re-dedication in the new Brea Downtown.

    Architects for the Downtown Redevelopment Agency found the Brea Sign to be an interesting design challenge. The first question they had to answer was how would it integrate into the new downtown. In the years between removal and redevelopment, Brea had grown up and Brea Blvd, once four-lanes, was now six. New code requirements, truck height restrictions and right-of-way requirements had to be considered.

    The actual Brea Sign is 3' x 10' wide. If the sign were to be put back on a bridge, that bridge would have had to be fifty feet across. That's almost half a football field of bridge holding up a 3' x 10' sign. It's a difficult concept to imagine.

    Design architects created photo montages of the sign, each suggesting various possibilities for placement. One suggestion, mounting the sign on the side of a building, was rejected  immediately since they didn't want to make a private building owner responsible for the sign. Another idea was to span the sign across and above one of the Paseos (the bricked walkways between some of the businesses), but, the sign needed to be visible from a prominent location. This idea was also taken out of the equation. read more


    7 years ago by

    Celebrated artist Marlo Bartels unveiled his latest work Sakura Obelisk at the new Stone Valley     Townhomes community in Brea.  The 12-foot, handmade-ceramic mosaic obelisk sculpture is the 153 piece in Brea’s Arts in Public Places collection. “The obelisk is festooned with Cherry Blossoms, which in Japan symbolize spring,” described Bartels.  “Sakura is the promise of spring, of renewal.  It reminds us of the brevity of life; the fact that beauty is fleeting, and that life should be celebrated every day,” explained the artist. The Art in Public Places program makes Brea an unusually artistic community of its size.


    7 years ago by

    By Carolyn Campbell

      Dwight Manley is Brea's hometown successful businessman who purchased a huge portion of Brea Downtown in 2003. When approached by BBON for an interview, traces of his boyhood shyness are evident in his short answers.

        Dwight Manley

          BBON: What kind of a kid were you, when at an early age you discovered a deep passion for collecting coins?

            Dwight: I was shy. I loved coins + went to the Brea coin shop where Yard House is now all the time!

              BBON: In 2003, you made community headlines in purchasing Brea Downtown. Today Brea Downtown is a destination location. What do you foresee for Brea Downtown in five to 10 years?

                Dwight: It's only going to get better!

                  BBON:From successful rare coin expert, sports agent, real estate developer, to television producer, what’s next for you?

                    I take each day one at a time. So we'll have to see!

                      BBON: Tell us what it was like growing up in Brea in the 70’s and early 80’s?

                        Dwight: It was a lot of fun: watching open fields + orange groves become the Brea mall!

  • Brea War Memorial

    7 years ago by

    The Brea War Memorial is a project 93 years overdue. On October 16, 1918, Private Homer T. Pumphrey was killed in action while in France during World War I. He was the first of about fifteen Brea residents we have identified thus far that have been killed while defending our country. We will finally have a memorial to honor them and properly recognize their sacrifice. read more

  • Ted Craig and Randy Jones talk about Babe Ruth

    7 years ago by

    photo credit - Susan Gaede

    Ted Craig (former assemblyman) and Randy Jones point to Babe Ruth's signature on a ball Ruth signed when he played in Brea. Craig was Brea's first statesman- Jones was a former Brea resident and professional ball player and earned the prestigious Cy Young Award.

  • Brea Plaza Shopping Center and Cinema

    7 years ago by

    Contact Information:
      1639 E Imperial Hwy
      Brea, CA 92821

    Brea Welcomes You Neon Sign


    When thinking of the Brea Plaza Shopping Center, a popular phrase comes to mind: “Location, Location, Location.” It is easy to find in that it is just east of Highway 57 and just north of Imperial Hwy about one mile east of Downtown Brea, California.

    Brea Plaza Shopping Center Map


    The Brea Plaza Shopping Center opened in 1975. With a prime piece of real estate property located near the intersection of the 57 Freeway and Imperial Highway near the Brea Mall, it certainly had the road visibility needed for success. It was anchored by large successful companies, such as: Albertson’s Supermarket, The Brea Plaza Theatre, and Thrifty Drug Store. However, due to a poor design that blocked visibility into the center, in combination with significant tenant dissatisfaction with property management, the retail center suffered. Of course, according to longtime Brea residents like, Julie Harrison Ferguson, there were great times at the Brea Plaza Shopping Center as well. She remembered when her Brea Olinda High School band rented space next to Thrifty’s for a big haunted house high school fundraiser event. Also, her family frequented The Big Yellow House which is now Lucille’s Bar-B-Que. She said that the restaurant would weigh children and use their weight to determine how much parents paid. She also enjoyed going with friends to the popular ice-cream parlor in the center, where waitresses waiting on customers wore cute striped uniforms.

    Expansion and Renovation:

    Brea Plaza Shopping CenterIn early 2011, the City of Brea announced the $40 million renovation and expansion project to increase the center's size to over 15.5- acres. The project would add four new building, increasing area shopping space to 161,000 square feet, restore the buildings of all 20 current businesses, upgrade the parking lot, and beautify the property with lush landscaping. According to Marc Harris of BOSC Property Advisors, it is a work in progress as sculptures, fountains, kiosks, and an eight-passenger golf-cart shuttle service are in process of being developed. Marc went on to say that Brea Plaza Shopping Center is the 2nd most desirable location in Orange County next to South Coast Plaza. The center rates number one in spending per capita in Brea and all of Orange County accounting for well over 400,000 cars a day from the 57 Freeway, Imperial Highway and Associated Road. This is no ordinary center to say the least. It is an “outdoor shopping mall” and is a great addition to Brea - North Orange County’s premier shopping and dining destination!

    Jareds Jewelry Store Brea Plaza

    Current Tenants and Businesses including:

    Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
    Bucca di Beppo
    Panera Bread
    Mother’s Market
    The Meat House
    Brea 5 Cinemas
    Total Wine & More
    California Fish Grill
    Grand Salon Med Spa
    Pho Ha Vietnamese Restaurant
    Which Wich
    Yori Modern Japanese
    Carters Babies & Kids
    DXL Men’s Apparel
    DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
    Bonny Bridal
    Eyebrow Beauty
    Jared the Gallery of Jewelry


    With a great variety of premier businesses (34 in total) to suit everyone’s interest, and a convenient one-stop park and shop design, Brea Plaza Shopping Center makes it easy to shop, dine, and catch a movie.

    The Brea Plaza Shopping Center is a local favorite and because of its location, broad spectrums of visitors have also enjoyed its many amenities. As with any great destination, it continues to move forward with its plan to inspire, attract, and capture the attention of many as being one of Orange Counties most noticeable and notable retail center.

  • Beautiful Brea Old & New Sandra Lynn Interview

    8 years ago by

    On November 1st, 2010,Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON) embarked on its 1st BB video adventure featuring Sandra Lynn Modic of Sandra Lynn Music. Sandra Lynn is a 2003 Brea Olinda High School Grad who has a chance at Country Pop Stardom! In October of 2011, Sandra Lynn married David Ellison, Executive Producer of Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol. David is the son of Larry Ellison of Oracle Software. We congratulate the newlyweds and wish them a lifetime of happiness!

  • A special BBON interview with Mr. Rose Parade, Raul Rodriguez.

    8 years ago by

    The 122nd annual Rose Parade is days away!! We hope you enjoy our BBON video adventure with Mr. Rose Parade, Raul Rodriguez! It certainly was an exciting adventure and rare interview at his personal home where Raul discusses the details about his magnificent floats. Many of you who have followed the Rose Parade over the years have seen Raul and his Macaw, Sebastian! Of course, Sebastian was perched on Raul’s shoulder when we conducted the interview. At one point, Damion, our videography, was “startled” when Sebastian decided to try out his shoulder!! I have to admit the look on Damion’s face was priceless! Special thanks to Raul, Robert, and his sisters for a most memorable time!!