For The Eagle
Bill Buckner, a 1968 Napa High School graduate who grew up in American Canyon and was both a football and baseball star for the Indians, was named to the inaugural CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame.
The first class of inductees is made up of athletes, officials, media, coaches, administrators and benefactors.
On the football field, Buckner was a two-time All-State wide receiver, getting many scholarship offers. But it was on the baseball field where he really shined.
Buckner was the 1967 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball. He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, mainly with the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. He was the 1980 National League batting champion. For his career, Buckner batted .289 with 174 home runs and 1,208 RBIs.
He is in the Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also named to the Coaches All American football team two years in a row.
The athletes range from Vic Bottari, Vallejo High class of 1934, to class of 1991 inductees Tedy Bruschi (Roseville) and Tisha Venturini (Grace Davis).
The coaches include National High School Hall of Fame member Guy Anderson, Cordova’s long-time baseball coach who is from Napa, and former Vanden boys basketball coach Jim Boyd.
The inductees were decided through a lengthy process that included extensive research and three separate committees. There will be a banquet at Arco Arena in Sacramento in October honoring the inductees, with the date still to be determined.
Vallejo High is represented by Bottari, the 1933 Cal-Hi Sports state football player of the year, and Dick Bass, a 1955 graduate who was one of the top high school football players in Northern California history.
Bottari went on to become one of the most decorated football players in UC Berkeley history. He was a two-time All-Pacific Coast Conference selection and a 1938 NCAA first-team All-American. He was the MVP of the 1938 Rose Bowl and was named to the first-team Pac-10 All-Century team. He’s a member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, Cal Hall of Fame, and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Bass was the 1955 Cal-Hi Sports state athlete of the year and was the 1954 Cal-Hi state football player of the year and the 1953 state junior player of the year. He averaged 205 rushing yards a game for his two-year career.
He set the state scoring mark (256 points in 1954), a record he held until 1977. He was a two-time NCAA All-American at the College of the Pacific.
Bass played 10 seasons in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl honors three times.
Tom Zunino, who coached football, baseball, golf and wrestling at Vacaville while also serving as athletic director for 37 years, was named as an administrator and benefactor. Zunino was the chairperson of the original section football playoff committee.
In the coaching category, Boyd is the winningest boys basketball coach in Sac-Joaquin Section history. His teams went 614-257 in a 32-year period that stretched from 1965-97.
Anderson started at Cordova in 1965 and continues to be the school’s head baseball coach. His teams have compiled an 822-319-20 record in those 44 years.
The Sac-Joaquin Section oversees high school athletics for 189 schools and 225,000 students.
Its geographic boundaries stretch from Merced in the south, Grass Valley in the north, Napa to the west and the Nevada state line to the east. The section is the second largest of California’s 10 athletic sections.