It’s been more than 60 years since Bob Ross threw his last major league pitch, but recently the baseball world has again taken notice of the former Fullerton hurler.
Earlier this year, Ross appeared on Baseball Almanac’s list of the 100 Oldest Living Baseball Players. At 89 years, 35 days old, Ross currently holds down the No. 94 spot on the list, just below Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, who beats out Ross by 12 days.
Ross also became the second player with a Fullerton connection on Baseball Almanac’s list. Longtime Fullerton resident Tom Lasorda currently occupies the No. 69 spot at 90 years, 76 days old.
When asked how he felt about being on the list, Ross said, “It’s a nice thing. I don’t really feel that old, but I guess I am. I told some of my friends about it, and we all had a good laugh.”
Floyd Robert Ross was born at Fullerton’s General Hospital in 1929. His family lived just down the street in the 100 block of West Amerige, now Fullerton Hardware Store’s parking lot.
On Thursday afternoon, March 31, 1938, the Pittsburgh Pirates played an exhibition game against the Pacific Coast League’s Portland Beavers at Amerige Park. Ross, an 8-year-old third-grader at Ford School, just a few blocks from the baseball field, was given permission by his mother, Louisa Ross, to attend the game.
“From that day on, I knew what I wanted to do,” Ross recalled.
As a 15-year-old in 1944, Ross remembers going to a Dodgers’ open tryout at Recreation Park in Long Beach with fellow Fullerton High School teammate and future major league all-star Del Crandall.
“I was a 5-foot-9, 135 pounds, 15-year-old kid, but they kind of liked me” Ross remembers. “I was caught that day by Branch Rickey Jr.”
In 1945, Ross was signed by Brooklyn Dodgers legendary scout Tom Downey, who signed many Southern California players including Duke Snider, Dee Fondy and…