SACRAMENTO — The region lost a piece of baseball history last week.
Sacramento’s Wally Westlake, who played Major League Baseball alongside such names as Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams and Stan Musial, died at the age of 98.
“He had such fond memories,” Westlake’s son, Wally Westlake Jr., told FOX40. “He met a lot of great ballplayers and a lot of characters.”
Westlake, who attended Christian Brothers High School, played in the major leagues in the ’40s and ’50s.
Westlake and Robinson were both rookies back in 1947.
“My pop most likely would have been rookie of the year. Those two were neck-and-neck that year. I think it could have gone to my pop, but Robinson got it. And he had so much respect for that guy, just what he put up with,” Westlake said.
Westlake would go on to play nine seasons in the major leagues for the Pirates, Indians, Cardinals and Phillies.
“He said, ‘I wasn’t a great ballplayer,’ but he says, ‘I was good.’ He said, ‘Good enough to stick,'” Westlake said. “He played in almost a thousand games. He had 125 home runs, seven grand slams, a .272 lifetime average.”
And when his playing time in the big leagues ended in 1956, Westlake returned to Sacramento to quietly and modestly live out the rest of his life until his death.
“You know, he never liked to stand up and say, ‘Look at me,’” Westlake said. “He always wanted to go his way and just be a straight guy, and he just never liked all the attention.”
Services for Westlake will be held on Sept. 18 at St. Peter’s All Hallows Hall in Sacramento at 10 a.m.