Longtime North Park Little League Coach Remembered on Opening Day

Joe Schloss, 88, coached youth baseball for the North Park Little League for 60 years, until his death in November 2015

North Park Little League celebrated Opening Day Saturday with a special tribute to a beloved coach who dedicated his life to the game – and the youth of San Diego – for more than 60 years.

Coach Joe Schloss, 88, was honored at Morley Field for his longtime career with the North Park Little League. Schloss passed away last fall following an illness.

To honor the coach, San Diego City District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria presented Schloss’ wife, Barbara, and his children with a special plaque dedicated to Schloss.

Barbara accepted the plaque graciously, talking about her late husband and his love of coaching youth baseball.

Gloria said a bronze plaque will soon be installed on the side of the snack shack at Morley Field to honor Schloss and his contributions to the North Park Little League.

Gloria said the plaque will help players, young and old, remember Schloss forever.

Gloria said a plan is in the works to also pay tribute to Schloss by renaming a street near Morley Field so that it bears the coach’s name.

“We’re kicking off this season by really honoring him; both with a plaque here at the field and with the initiation that renames the road that leads to this field in his memory,” Gloria told NBC 7. “Joe is a legend in North Park, and really across San Diego.”

Gloria said Schloss inspired multiple generations of local baseball players. Some of his former players of all ages attended the Opening Day ceremonies in his honor.

“In 60 years of teaching baseball in North Park, he’s literally touched the lives of thousands of young people. Multiple generations of San Diegans have been guided by Coach Joe,” said Gloria.

The councilmember said Schloss didn’t just teach players about sportsmanship and how to play baseball. He also set an example on how to live life well, and in Gloria’s words, “how to be a leader, how to show moral character.”

“He was a great man. It was a huge loss to North Park when he passed. We don’t want to lose his good example, which is why we’re honoring him today,” he added.

Schloss passed away in late November 2015. He was the longtime owner of A-B Sporting Goods in North Park.

NBC 7 spoke with Schloss in May 2015. At 88 years young, he was vibrant and happy, and deeply dedicated to his career as a coach with North Park Little League.

On May 16, 2015, leaders from the City and County of San Diego held a special ceremony at Morley Field to declare May 16 “Joe Schloss Day.” The coach was honored for his dedication to the sport and players.

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That day, Schloss attended the ceremony alongside his wife, Barbara. Some of his former players – many of them now adults – were there to cheer him on, and even former players from other Little League teams showed up. Schloss said he was overwhelmed and a little embarrassed by the attention, but thrilled to be there.

“It's a great honor,” he said at the May ceremony, humbled.

Schloss, a Navy veteran who served in the Pacific during World War II, coached his first team in 1956, which made 2015 his 60th season. Up until his death, he said he had no plans of hanging up his clipboard anytime soon.

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