by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Soul of Photography

For the Love of Baseball

More than 25 years ago, Jose Palomo, Sr. began prepping the fields at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, and he has been the heart of the baseball fields ever since. Jose pays close attention to detail and prepares the fields to perfection. He waters the fields and then uses a quad to drag them. Jose is responsible for ensuring that the foul lines are straight and that the fields are in excellent condition for Little League play. “I like to see [the kids] play on the field that I just prepped for them. It gives me great joy,” revealed Jose, who still stays to watch the games even though his children and most of his grandchildren have long outgrown Little League age. Two of his sons, Jose Victor and Tony, played baseball at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA Little League fields, as did his grandsons, Eddie, Chano, and Victor. In fact, Chano continues the family baseball tradition with his positions as assistant baseball coach for La Costa Canyon High School and coach of the Jr. Mavericks.

Name: Jose Palomo, Sr.
Profession: Field Maintenance at Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA
Commuinty: Encinitas
Family: Wife – Lucina; 5 children; 12 grandchildren
Hobbies & Interests: Landscaping, gardening, and planting vegetables with grandchildren

Jose’s love of baseball began when he was a boy in Mexico. He did not have a television, so he would listen to games on the radio. “I was a fan of baseball since I was in Mexico – I have always loved it,” he said. Growing up, Jose would hear stories of those who came to the U.S. and eventually, he took a leap of faith and moved to San Diego to pursue his dreams.

Jose moved to Encinitas with his wife, Lucina, and their one-year-old son in 1976. Over the years, they grew to love the city and spending quality time with their neighborhood friends. Jose and Lucina have a blended family of five sons, one daughter, and 12 grandchildren. Jose is 83 years old, a fact that surprises almost everyone he encounters. According to his family, Jose looks 20 years younger than his actual age, has an incredible amount of energy, and can run circles around most 40-year-olds. He loves to work and takes great pride in prepping the baseball fields, as well as in his landscape work. Most of all, Jose is proud of his family and their accomplishments. “I am very proud of my grandchildren for continuing their education,” shared Jose, who cites gardening and planting vegetables with his youngest grandchildren as one of his favorite pastimes.