Lorenzo Ponza was born on February 15, 1918 the son of Italian immigrants Lorenzo and Mary Ponza, in Glenwood California. He grew up on his parents Saw Mill & worked in the engineering field after high school. He moved to Pearl Harbor in 1941 working for the Navy & was there during the 1941 Japanese bombing attacks. He remained in Hawaii becoming a civil supervisor helping build up the US Pacific Fleet.
He came back to Santa Cruz in 1950 & opened up a small machine shop working as an inventor. By 1952 he gets credit with inventing the modern day baseball pitching machine. He fine tuned some of the older original models that never quite resembled real life pitching.(Another Italian inventor Paul Giovagnoli also developed a similar machine that year & his company claims they invented the first.)
But the Ponza machines, known as “ponzas’ among the base ball players were the most widely used & most authentic. Through the years Lorenzo followed up with many improvements to his pitching machines & owns seven different baseball product patents.
There was the 1974 Hummer, which could simulate fastballs, pop-ups and grounders, the 1983 Casey, the 1987 Ponza Swing King and the 1988 Rookie. He eventually sold his company to the Athletic Training Equipment Company in the early 1990s.
Feb 3, 2011
In 1969, Murphy was instrumental in bringing the San Diego Padres from the Pacific Coast League to the major leagues in the expansion of the National League.
In 1997 the Stadium was renamed Qualcomm Stadium in a time where corporate sponsorship began to take over ball parks.
I was at Qualcomm Stadium in 2003, the Padres last season there before moving to the beautiful Petco Park in 2004. First off San Diego is probably the most beautiful city in the United States, with its miles of gorgeous Pacific Ocean beaches, Mission Bay & the modern metropolitan down town area. The main area downtown is the historic Gam Lamp Quarter which is filled with restaurants, bars & an amazing outdoor open air mall. The 16 block area was revitalized with the building of Petco Park, which saw hotels, condo’s & new business build up all around the area. On our second trip to San Diego in 2006, we stayed on Coronado Island which is a resort paradise of its own. The island is one of the most expensive places in the country to live & is home to a US Navy base which trains the Navy Seals.