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27

Nov, 2017

Lindsey stands as lifelong PONY supporter

Positively put, PONY West Zone, Northern California, Northeast Region Director Rob Lindsey has been a PONY “lifer,” and he has been instrumental to the success of his hometown PONY program in Vacaville, California.

Beginning his playing career in 1963 as a “Pee Wee” (now known as Pinto) player in 1963 in the newly formed Tara Hills PONY League in Tara Hills, California, Lindsey said he first developed his love for playing baseball by watching his older brother Mike play, tossing catch and hitting wiffle balls with his dad Bob and being coached by a man, who Lindsey said was instrumental to his success in his youth, named Larry LaLone. Lindsey admits though, that more important than the game itself was developing friendships, which he says he still carries on with former teammates to this day.

“Some of the childhood teams that I was on – we were good,” said Lindsey. “We had some great coaches and great players that I’m still friends with since I was eight years old. Those are some of the bigger things that come out of [playing]. You start baseball at eight years old and by 24, you’re done. But, at 62, you’re still friends with these guys, and it’s all because of the game of baseball.”




Rob Lindsey (red) joins his Tara Hills PONY teammates for their team photos in 1968 (top - Bronco), 1969 (middle - Pony) and 1970 (bottom - Pony). His dad, Bob, is noted in purple.

Following a successful playing and academic career at San Francisco State University, Lindsey said he had a few professional tryouts, but he ultimately chose to become a railroad engineer, a career that he’s continued for the last 39 and a half years.

When his sons Daniel and David were born in the early 1990s, he was motivated, along with a friend, to bring a PONY program to Vacaville so his sons could experience the same types of great memories that he had. So in 1997, he founded said program, and by 2002, it merged with the nearby Pony/Colt-age program to form what is known today as the Vacaville PONY Association. He became the league’s Vice President in 2003 and served as the President from 2004-06. Looking back on those years, Lindsey is still incredibly proud of everyone, from the league administrators, volunteers, parents and players, for buying in.  

“We went from 165 kids the first year to, when I left, over 400 kids,” said Lindsey. “Watching the kids grow, the things that we accomplished there, to the point where we actually had teams starting from nothing, basically, in 2003, to 2013, we had a team that played in the Bronco League World Series. Just watching the growth of the league and the competitive [play] and the way they bought in to that. That’s what’s a blessing to me the most, and [the league is] still out there.”


Rob Lindsey (right) wanted his sons Daniel (left) and David (right) to enjoy the same positive experiences that he had growing up, which motivated him to volunteer with the Vacaville PONY Association.

Following his administrative career with Vacaville PONY, Lindsey said he was approached by then-Region Director Jim Almond to become a Field Director. Almond unfortunately passed away a few years later. Before he died, Almond recommended Lindsey as a Region Director, and Lindsey has carried on the PONY red, white and blue colors ever since. He said he dedicates his life to standing behind the PONY mission to protect our nation’s youth, and he respects the brand of baseball PONY plays, which follows the Major League Baseball rule book.

“I take that very seriously as a director,” said Lindsey about his stance on PONY’s mission. “I think it’s the brand of baseball that we offer. I mean, where else at nine years old are kids playing at the Major League level. What they see on TV, we’re putting it right here.”

For the last three years, Lindsey has served as the official Tournament Director for the Mustang-9 World Series in Walnut, California. Besides seeing some of the best baseball you will see out of nine-year-old players in the world, Lindsey is very appreciative of the overwhelming support that the fans provide the players during the four-day tournament at Creekside Park. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Tanuan City, Philippines, Tijuana, Mexico or Walnut, California, everyone supports and cheers each other on.

“I’d say 99-percent are all positive,” said Lindsey. “It’s competitive, but they are all very supportive in what goes on out there. I just think the mingling of the international teams is great.”


Lindsey (center), alongside PONY West Zone Directors Darren Miles (center-right) and Keith Kondo (far right) and City of Walnut, California officials for the start of the 2016 Mustang-9 World Series.

An annual crowd favorite, the Champions League Game is always Lindsey’s favorite event at the Mustang-9 World Series. But a memory that sticks out in his mind, when asked, is how amazed he was at seeing Grayden Lucas from Simi Valley, California play in 2015. Lucas, now a Mustang-9 and Mustang World Series Champion and Bronco-11 World Series Finalist, was born with one full arm.

“He was just a phenomenal ball player,” said Lindsey. “His dad was the coach, and just seeing what he was able to accomplish with that young man – to me, that’s kind of what sets what we do out here above and beyond winning and losing. Just seeing what these kids can do.”

Lindsey is greatly appreciative for the assistance he receives throughout the year from his Assistant Region Director, Keith Kondo. According to Lindsey, Kondo, a veteran, has tremendous discipline, insight for the rules and a love for the game, all while being very tech savvy. Lindsey said he is encouraged and proud of the growth in the Sacramento, East Bay and Central sections of his region, and he commends all of his directors who play in role in the region’s expansion and stability.

This past October, Lindsey was approved as a new member to PONY Baseball and Softball’s Board of Directors. Despite attending the annual Board Meeting a few years back as an observer, he said he used this opportunity to learn and get a feel for the future, because he believes the Board functions at its best when everyone is on the same page, thinking what is in the best interest of kids around the world.

“What’s interesting is when you get out of your area and realize that you’re making decisions for the whole world, it’s very humbling,” said Lindsey. “The main thing is that we all work together and make sure that we’re making the right decisions for all of the kids internationally.”

Lindsey and his wife Marie live in Vacaville.

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