In the last century, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton athletics has been the source of numerous sports stories.
Whether it be the emergence of a standout athlete or a season-long journey to becoming a state championship team, TMB High School has had it all.
As a result, Richard 'Dick' Donaldson and Neal Vahle - two Tracy graduates/athletes - sought out to find all the success stories throughout the Tracy area and compiled it all into one book entitled 'Scrapper/Panther Athletics, 1900-2000.
Photo by David Griswold
Tracy’s Richard Donaldson holds a picture of three separate generations of Tracy basketball teams. Donaldson joined with Tracy 1950 Tracy graduate Neal Vahle to write ‘Scrapper/Panther Athletics, 1900-2000,’ a book that highlights Tracy sports throughout the century.
"I wrote kind of a history of Tracy athletics for the last century," said Donaldson. "He (Vahle) had done some publishing and he looked at it and said he wanted to publish it. Then he decided that it didn't really have much appeal to people beyond the local area, so he suggested that we contact about 30 individuals that have been prominent in Tracy High School sports or people involved in the sports within the city of Tracy."
The original idea of the book featured sports facts and highlights of Tracy sports throughout the last century, and once completed Donaldson sought out someone to publish his work.
"I've been in the publishing business for a while," said Vahle. "I ran a publishing business in Washington D.C. for 25 years, so I know a lot about publishing."
Vahle, who now resides in California, has also had his own work published, one of which was written with Buddy Bell - former manager of the Kansas City Royals - called "Smart Baseball: How Professionals Play the Mental Game."
The book focuses on the mental side of baseball and is sold nationwide.
Vahle has also written a book called "Dr. Jack on Winning Basketball," with Jack Ramsey, former coach of the Portland Trailblazers. Vahle said that the book is finished and ESPN Books has agreed to publish it. It should be published next year.
"I've been doing books on sports as part of the work I do," Vahle said. "Sports has been a big part of my life."
Vahle found out about Donaldson's book and contacted Donaldson about helping him finish his work.
"When I got it, I worked on it editorially and added a part on the profiles of athletes," said Vahle. "He (Dick) did the work relating to the information on the athletes and teams, and then what I did was wrote the profiles of the athletes."
Donaldson and Vahle decided to get in contact with 26 male athletes, 16 female athletes and seven coaches and had each person tell their story as to how sports affected their lives and everything they contributed to TMB sports.
The book features photos and stories highlighting everything from the undefeated Tracy football team in 1927 - a team that was never scored on throughout the entire season - to the success of Tracy girls volleyball, basketball and track and field teams in the late-1980s and 1990s.
"My part of it was primarily the historical part," Donaldson said. "I dealt mainly with the success of athletics in Tracy High School throughout the century."
Donaldson and Vahle both played high school sports and were also teammates on the Tracy Engineers - a summer baseball team. Now, the two continue to keep sports close in their lives, whether it be by participation or through words.
"I write sports for the (TMB) high school," said Donaldson, who writes for the Headlight Herald. "I came across some old articles on these teams in the late 1920s that kind of inspired me."
The book is expected to be finished by late January 2009 and will be sold in various places throughout the Tracy area, including Tracy Publishing.
"The book is intended for people in and around Tracy, who are active in sports," said Vahle. "Half of the book is profiles and the other half of the book is on sports."
Tracy has made its mark in the state throughout the century, producing multiple standout athletes and state tournament-bound teams. Now, it will all be featured in one book, by two former Tracy athletes.
"There have really been a number of fine athletes through the years," said Vahle. "It was really a lot of fun to see how these athletes lived their lives, what their interests were, what sports did in terms of affecting them and how they lived."