Eighty-five years ago this week, baseball players anxious to demonstrate their skills and receive professional training gathered on the diamond at Petaluma’s Kenilworth Park for a tryout camp led by Mickey Shader.
Shader was born in Petaluma in 1891 and was the son George Clayton Shader and Rebecca Bowman Shader. He started playing baseball at Kenilworth Park while employed as a spinner at Belding Brothers & Company Silk Mill. He pitched for the Tourists, a team composed of local boys, and later organized the first team for Camm & Hedges.
In 1913 Shader was signed up with the Northwest League in Vancouver, Canada, until being released to the Walla Walla club in the Western Tri-State League. In 1915 he was known as one of the best semi-professional pitchers in California and his talents led him on a long, nomadic career. He pitched for several leagues throughout the United States before turning to management and later scouting. He was scouting for the Cincinnati Reds while in Petaluma in 1937. Shader remained with the Reds until 1946, when we went to the New York Giants.
Although Shader’s profession took him to many parts of California and Utah, Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Idaho, New York, and Mexico, he was a frequent visitor to his hometown. His career was closely followed and reported on in the local newspapers for those wishing to delve deeper.
When Shader died in 1953, his friends and admirers paid their respects by installing a bronze plaque at McNear Park, which had replaced Kenilworth Park as the preferred baseball park in 1940.
A dedication ceremony attended by over 500 people took place on Sunday, June 21, 1953.
 The first baseball game at Kenilworth Park was held on April 3, 1910. Mickey Shader, “the amateur slabster”, took the mound for the Tourists against the Sequoia’s of San Francisco. Source: Petaluma Daily Courier, April 2, 1910, pg. 3.
U.S. Census: Petaluma, California, 1910, pg. 11B
Petaluma Daily Morning Courier, August 8, 1911, pg. 8, “Mickey Shader Gets Offers”
Petaluma Argus, August 19, 1911, pg. 2, “To Pitch for Turkey Reds”
Petaluma Daily Courier, January 9, 1914, pg. 2, “Mickey Shader is Benedict”
Petaluma Daily Courier, January 14, 1915, pg. 8, “Shader Signs with Big League”
Petaluma Daily Morning Courier, June 29, 1924, pg. 5, “Mickey Shader Pitching in Boise, Idaho”
Petaluma Daily Morning Courier, June 23, 1925, pg. 7, “Mickey Shader is Pitching Winning Ball”
Petaluma Argus, September 16, 1925, pg. 8 “Mickey Shader Gives Record Story of Career”
Petaluma Daily Courier, October 13, 1927, pg. 3, “Mickey Shader Manages Bay City Team”
Petaluma Argus-Courier, April 1, 1940, pg. 4, “Spartan Baseball Team to Move to McNear Diamond”
Torliatt, Lee. Sports Memories of Sonoma County. Chicago, Illinois: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.