(September 18, 1939 May 10, 2015)
2017 MEMORIAL AWARD
It has been said that no one loved baseball more than Joe Aguilar. His family knew this well. Joe was not only a coach but also a player, a manager, and a commissioner of the Cal-Mex League. Joe often said, “Baseball taught me how to live life.”
Joe played at Edison High School, graduating in 1958. His positions were shortstop and third base during the 1955-56 seasons. After this he played for the Stockton College Colts in 1956 and 1957. He played in the Connie Mack League during those summers.
At the age of nineteen, he began his 25-year involvement with the Cal-Mex League, playing various positions and also pitching for the Aztecs. He was only 23 when he began managing in the league. He eventually played every position but catcher. In his only game as a pitcher, he allowed just three hits. He won championships (in 1965, ’67, and ’68 with two different teams). He was selected Manager of the Year in 1968. He served as president of the Board of Directors and in 1984 became the Commissioner of the League.
At the same time, Joe was playing open division softball for two different teams.
Football was also in the mix when Joe was asked by Edison Coaches Charles Washington and Ben Parks to help start the Stockton Pop Warner Youth Tackle football league. He coached the South Stockton Vikings and the North Stockton Bengals. He won two championships during those eight years.
Little League baseball also had Joe’s attention. He coached for years in the Hoover-Tyler Little League, Southern Little League, and Pioneer Little League. Later he coached in the Canal Babe Ruth League when in 1974 he took his team, the Orioles, to Hawaii to play ball and to “experience and learn about another culture.”
Mr. Bill Laughlin, Joe’s first Babe Ruth Baseball coach, was a big influence in his youth, teaching him the basic skills of playing baseball, and always made Joe feel like part of their family.
In 1970, with the help of others, he started the Cal-Mex Softball Tournament. During this time Joe also amazingly had time to coach women’s softball for 17 years with a team called the Pi-Nays. He emphasized “Win or lose together” and the responsibility of “Team Sportsmanship.”
Joe was a true example of a volunteer and athlete who gave countless hours to so many youth activities. One of his mottoes was “Help today’s youth for a better tomorrow.” He tried to instill in youth that “What you learn from sports carries on to your everyday life.”
Joe was inducted into the Stockton Mexican Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. Joe also has been inducted into the African-American Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, being awarded the Coach Washington’s Service to Community Award.