Baseball field’s new name honors two local legends
By Jerry Ward, Parker Youth & Sports Foundationfor the Yakima Herald
The April 18 Yakima Valley Community College baseball doubleheader will start on Parker Field, but end on a newly renamed Parker Faller Field, a tribute to two men who have done so much for Yakima sports.
The original Parker Field was built in 1937 for a minor league baseball team the Pippens, owned by Shirley D. Parker, a Yakima High School graduate who became a trial lawyer, successful businessman, author and lecturer, whose love of sports remained a priority throughout his life. Daryl Parker, son of Shirley and Eleanor Parker, initiated the name change to honor both his father and Bill Faller, a decorated World War II Army Air Force veteran, who came to YVCC to coach football and baseball in 1961 and amassed 664 baseball wins before he retired in 1986. Those wins made Faller No. 1 in community college baseball records, and, fittingly, the Northwest Athletic Conference championship trophy was named in his honor in 1986. He’s also been inducted into three athletic halls of fame.
Coach Faller turns 90 this month. Following his military service, Faller graduated from Washington State College in 1948, played a couple of years of minor league baseball, and went on to teach and coach in Prosser and then Wapato. When Yakima Junior College baseball coach Chuck “Bobo” Brayton moved on to Washington State University, it was only natural that Faller be next in the batting lineup. Faller and Brayton had both grown up in Skagit Valley and played ball together, remaining good friends until Brayton’s death just a few weeks ago.
Faller, an active and successful teacher and administrator, also was president of the faculty union and was a community activist and member of the Rainbow Coalition.
A guy like that likes to stay busy, so it was no surprise that Faller, after retiring in 1986 from YVCC, became the first president of the Parker Youth & Sports Foundation, an organization established in 2004 with a primary mission of providing financial assistance to the youth sports programs of the Valley. He served three terms as president and continues to serve on the board, and is active on a committee seeking to raise funds for improvements at Parker Faller Field.
Daryl Parker, a charter board member of the Parker Youth & Sports Foundation has been instrumental in the creation and support of the Bill Faller/Bobo Brayton Endowment Fund, administered by the Parker Foundation, a fund that has grown to over a quarter million dollars in six years. In 2012, Daryl and his wife, Sherrie, created the YVCC Faculty Award, providing a financial stipend to the outstanding faculty member as chosen by their faculty colleagues.
The addition of Faller’s name to Parker Field recognizes a living legacy of over 60 years of community service, which actually stretches back even further. Daryl Parker’s father, Shirley, was the stepson of A.E. Larson, famed for the downtown Larson Building and Rosedell Mansion on Yakima Avenue. Shirley and his mother, Rose Hawkins Parker Larson, donated land and substantial funds during the 1940s where YVCC, Larson Park, the Larson Gallery and Parker Faller Field stand today.
The Parker Youth & Sports Foundation invites the community to join us on April 18, to honor Faller and Shirley Parker. The dedication ceremony will take place between the YVCC/Treasure Valley Community College games, about 2:30 p.m. A reception follows in the Hopf Union Building.
• Jerry Ward is a past president and board member of the Parker Youth & Sports Foundation and now serves as the official historian of the group.