By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Batman has his Robin, Butch has his Sundance, and the Sacramento Solons have 2013 World Series Hall of Fame member, Tina Haas. (Seen above on the far right holding Jim Hill’s jersey)
“What she does for our team is invaluable,” said longtime Sacramento player and Solon’s manager Irv Scott. “Tina is probably the most valuable player to never actually play,” added MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler. Tina has also been on the Sacramento MSBL board for the past ten years.
Why do we bring this up? Because we are profiling one of the most successful teams in MSBL World Series history, the Sacramento Solons, and Tina Haas is a huge part of the makeup that keeps this collaboration ticking. We found Tina during a breather in her very busy vet tech calling.
“I have been a vet tech since 1986,” explained the 62-year-old Haas. “My goal was to be a veterinarian but the requirements for UC Davis were pretty intense. I was able to go to a community college to become a vet tech as a means of becoming more qualified to become a vet but I loved it so much, I decided ‘this is good enough’ as I am still able to follow my passion. I love what I have been doing for over 35 years.”
How on earth did you become involved in baseball and what exactly is your role with the Solons, in the Sacramento league and at the World Series?
“I view myself as a consultant and a sort of bench coach. Irv Scott is the on-field manager and my job is to make his life easier. I keep the players informed and keep things organized, before, during, and after the game.
In 2003 I saw an ad in the paper for players and tried out. Jim Hill was the manager of the team I ended up on and he asked me to help him with his duties, like keeping score, and it just took off from there. The team was phenomenal, so I wasn’t looking at much playing time anyway so it made sense.”
Tina can be found in her familiar folding chair by the dugout or on the end of the bench, scorebook in hand, shouting out instructions.
“You’re the ‘B’ hitter this inning so be ready; You’re running for Joe if he gets on; You are OK to hit in this slot because you’re between two sons!”
You get my drift. The manager can concentrate on gametime coaching while Tina keeps things organized. She is also the one who keeps track of assembling and notifying all of the players of any requirements or changes.
Tina is associated with two teams in the Sacramento MSBL during the summer; the 60+ Red Sox and the 68+ Rays.
“For my teams, I wear many hats. Team mom, trainer, cheerleader, rules guru, whatever needs to be done. The same goes for Arizona. They come to me for specific details and also for rules interpretation. I can keep everyone within the rules and ensure they don’t stray too far,” laughed Tina.
This year you’ll find Tina keeping the Solons in line in the 73+ and 75+ divisions at the World Series, of course in the top division. Their history of success keeps them battling the toughest teams you can throw at them. When they aren’t competing as a group for the Solons, the Arizona landscape is littered with their players while assisting other teams in becoming champions.
“We are the Solons now but started as the Cardinals, River Rats, Patriots, and Silverbacks. We became the Solons in 2010. I personally have five rings from 2003 through 2013, though you can’t count all of the rings our players have won while playing in other divisions or with other teams in off-weeks in Arizona.”
You said you got a start in the baseball world while playing alongside and helping Jim Hill. Tell me more about him.
“I met Jim Hill in 2003 when I became his scorekeeper. We became great friends, talking and watching baseball, and participating in our local SMSBL league and in Arizona, with occasional other MSBL tournaments. We won our first tournament together (2003 Father/Son), and won many more together. He was a baseball genius, so much so that I used to call him ‘Sparky’ (as in Sparky Anderson). What an adventure! Jim was tragically killed in 2021 on his Harley. He is sorely missed by all of us Solons.”
Tina explained that the nucleus of the Solons stays pretty close to home all year and doesn’t venture to many other tournaments. They spend the summer getting ready for Arizona and the MSBL World Series.
“The Solons are made up primarily of league players, though we have imported a few to help specific needs. But we are getting a little older and traveling isn’t quite as big a deal as when they were younger. We get in plenty of baseball during the year to be ready to go in October.”
What are your personal highlights?
“One game that stands out is the 2003 Father/Son championship in our first year as the Sacramento Cardinals. We were playing the New England Red Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium. It was a tie game and we were playing against three ex-major leaguers, including Bill Lee. In the seventh or eighth inning, they had the bases loaded.
Mike Lee, Bill’s son, was at second and there was a fly to center. Our center fielder, Mike Thatcher, caught it and threw a pea to Steve Welch at home plate who tagged out Mike Lee when he was running from second. The father was also tagging at third as Steve tagged them both out ‘bang, bang’, and Tom Prendergast caught the whole thing in a photo that made his ‘Daily News’ cover!” (below)
“My final comment is that even though I am not a player, the team realizes my contributions and sometimes votes for me to have a ring, which they have to pay for. That is very touching and appreciated. The Solons are a great bunch of guys and like family. I love them all.”