By Dick Trone
December 7, 1941 was a sad day in our country's history.
Like many towns across the country where families lost loved ones, Crescent City lost an outstanding young man. Roscoe andquot;Rockyandquot; Peterson was one of our many service men who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor when the USS Arizona went down.
Rocky was an outstanding athlete at Del Norte High School. He particularly excelled in basketball and baseball. Baseball was the sport where he seemed destined for greatness. At age 14, Rocky made the Crescent City Merchants baseball team. The Merchants were a men's team that played other men's teams from throughout the southern Oregon area. Rocky at that young age became a standout outfielder for the Merchants.
At the end of his junior year in high school he signed to play professionally for the Yakima International League. Because of his professional status he became ineligible to play for the high school during his senior year. He still kept himself active in local sports by playing for the local men's basketball team, which also played teams from southern Oregon.
During this time he also coached the Crescent Elk basketball team. At the end of his senior year he was assigned to play baseball for the Lewiston, Idaho team, where he again had a great season as an outfielder, a position he had always played. Mostly during his career he roamed the center field pastures. Rocky was scheduled to move up to the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League during the next season. The Pacific Coast League was and still is just one step from the major leagues.
At the age of 20 he knew he had his military obligation ahead of him, so he joined the Navy. He was anxious to get this behind him so he could get on with his promising career. Thus his fateful end.
I have visited the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. When I entered this very special place and stood among so many of our fallen heroes and knowing that one of them was the brother of two of my own teammates, Richie Peterson and Lyle andquot;Bunkyandquot; Peterson a feeling came over me that cannot be put into words. Only one other time in my life has anything come close, and that was when I entered the courtyard of St. Peters Basilica in Rome.
Peterson Park is now the fitting home of many of our youth baseball programs. Rocky would be proud.
Today is a day to remember how this park got its name, and thank Rocky and the thousands of other fallen heroes that make this nation and Crescent City the best place in the world to live.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring. Currently, he is head coach of the South Coast Storm semi-pro football team, formerly called the Siskiyou Savages.