As baseball season heats up and football descends upon us once again, it’s time to look back to a Black Diamond resident who excelled in both sports. His name was Joe Paglia (1911-1985) and he was part of this 1928 Black Diamond baseball team.
Standing, left to right are Frank Grgurich, property man and trainer; Johnny Buck, left field; Joe Paglia, center field; Joe Malachnick, shortstop; Bill Cushing, manager; Meg Pierotti, utility; Ralph Smith, utility; Les Hammond, utility; Rufe Weston, first base. Kneeling, left to right, Cole Anderson, second base; Eddie Percival, pitcher; Johnny Buck Jr., mascot; Gordon Gray, right field; Joe Spencer, catcher; and Tommy Meredith, third base.
The photo was taken after that season’s Bremerton game and a near duplicate image appeared in a newspaper clipping. Joe Paglia was the team’s star and after graduating from Black Diamond High School attended Santa Clara University. There Paglia excelled in football and is credited with creating the coffin corner kick. A perfect coffin corner kick is one that goes out of bounds just before the goal line or is otherwise downed close to the goal trapping the receiving team in a difficult field position. They called him “Diamond” Joe and after college he went on to coach a number of local teams including St. Martin’s College.
This photo was featured in the 1985 Black Diamond Historical Society calendar series and came courtesy of Mary Grgurich, the wife of Frank pictured above.
JoAnne Matsumura, an Issaquah historian and Cary Collins, a Tahoma teacher provided background information.