Lassen County had long been the home of former Major League Baseball player Frank Ernaga, who passed away earlier this month.
Ernaga played as an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs during parts of the 1957 and 1958 seasons.
During his first major league game against the Milwaukee Braves on May 24, 1957, Ernaga hit a homerun and followed with a triple.
Ernaga is still reportedly the only Chicago Cub to hit a homerun and a triple in the same game. What’s more, he accomplished the feat against Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn.
Ernaga appeared in 29 games, scored nine runs and drove in seven runs throughout his career with the Cubs.
A previous Lassen County Times article stated, “MLB offered Ernaga a position as playing manager in Elmira, New York, but Ernaga declined the offer. He then moved back to Susanville to raise his family without regrets.”
During an interview with Ernaga in March of last year, he said, “Everything just fell into place for me. I always loved sports. I got to do everything in my life that was great.”
Since ending his career with the Cubs, Ernaga worked as a carpenter, a general contractor, an inspector for the Susanville School District and finally an educator in Lassen County.
Ernaga remained very involved in the Lassen County community by attending countless Lassen Community College and the Lassen High School baseball games.
Ernaga’s son Jim said, “(My dad) did things for both the high school and the college. Especially the college. He was very active in promoting baseball in the community.”
Most recently, Ernaga joined in on the fun during the April 21 Lassen College baseball game, during which the Susanville Little League teams were recognized and began their season by warming up with the Cougars.
During the Little League day, members of the various Susanville Little League teams got to meet and speak with Ernaga while enjoying a hot dog lunch.
While Ernaga made a name for himself in Chicago, he definitely made his home in Susanville and had a lasting impact. During the Thursday, May 3, Lassen High School baseball game, the team and game attendees held a moment of silence to honor the baseball legend.