One the last links to the heyday of semi-pro baseball in Helper and Carbon County passed out the picture last week with the death of Frank Zaccaria in the Salt Lake area.
Born in Sunnyside, Frank’s family relocated in Helper in a house just over the left field fence of the Helper baseball field. It is this same house that present Carbon School superintendent Patsy Bueno grew up in when her family later acquired it.
Being in close proximity to the ball field, it was only natural for young Frank to spend most of his free time on the field developing his diamond skills. This led to a stint in professional baseball with the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League and a long career in the semi-pro Utah Industrial League.
Whenever Frank came to bat at the Helper field someone in the crowd was sure to yell, “Show them where you live, Zac.” Obliging, Frank sent many a home run over the left field fence in direction of the family home.
Frank left Helper for Bingham Canyon for a job with Kennecott Copper on the premise to play baseball for the team there known as the Gemmell Club. He wasn’t only player to follow this route, the copper company offering year round employment in contrast to the seasonal work of the local coal mines.
Following World War II local interests enticed Frank to come back to Helper as the player-manager of the local entry in the Industrial League, the Helper Merchants. It was here he completed his baseball career in his home town and went on to an active life as a outstanding bowler and golfer residing in the south valley area of Salt Lake County.
So a chapter is closed on the era of local semi-pro baseball with the death of Frank Zaccaria at the age of 94.
The last time I had an opportunity to converse with Zac in recent years he told me how thrilled he was to see the name of Zaccaria again in the box scores of Carbon High and Helper American Legion baseball games, the sons of his nephew David.