Were they the best? Most experts will tell you that they were certainly the best in California and many claim they were the finest ever fielded by a high school. The latter probably would be up for debate and difficult to measure, but not many teams produced two solid major league pitchers and a catcher who was still active after fifty years in professional baseball, nearly all in major leagues.
The 1958 Fresno High School Warriors record speaks for itself. They were 18-0 in high school competition, setting state and national records, many that still stand. Their only loss in the 25-1 season was to the Fresno State freshmen, a team they defeated three other times. Other victims were the UC Berkeley and Stanford freshmen teams. Ollie Bidwell, tough on discipline and baseball fundamentals, said this was the best team he ever coached in fourteen high school seasons at three schools. Senior lefthander Dick Ellsworth was 15-0, senior right hander Lynn Rube was 7-1, and hard-hitting shortstop Jim Maloney was 3-0, striking out twenty-five batters against Mt. Whitney High of Visalia.
The pitching trio had fifteen shutouts, still a California record. Ellsworth struck out twenty in a three-hit shutout of Merced and whiffed sixteen in a no-hitter against Roosevelt High. Maloney spent a semester at Fresno City College before turning pro. He had nineteen scoreless innings for the Rams before signing with the Cincinnati Reds. Ellsworth went directly to the Chicago Cubs. Catcher Pat Corrales, who had several college football scholarship offers, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He batted .394 during that 1958 high school season, had a deadly throwing arm, and was an outstanding defensive catcher. Rube joined the St. Louis Cardinals. Maloney was the most successful professional player, notching a 134-84 record in twelve major league which included 1,605 strikeouts, two twenty-game win seasons with a career 3.19 ERA and two no-hitters. Ellsworth’s thirteen-year major league career record was 115-137, including a 22-10 season in 1963. He pitched for five different clubs, but mostly with Chicago. Corrales took six seasons to reach the majors, but played nine years with Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and San Diego. Others players were 6’4’’ third baseman Tom Jacobsen, who went on to star in basketball and baseball at Fresno State, the late Blair Pollard, Jim Albracht, Jerry Martinez, Chuck Smith, Fred Tuttle, Glenn Schmidt, and the late Jack Reinold. Coach Ollie Bidwell, Dick Ellsworth, Lynn Rube, Jim Maloney, Pat Corrales, Blair Pollard, Tom Jacobsen, Jim Albracht, Chuck Smith, Jerry Martinez, Dennis Schneider, Fred Tuttle, Glenn Schmidt, Jack Reinold, Clark Bridgeman, and Team Managers, Dennis Lewis and Jerry Clark.