SAN PABLO -- Bob Foreman taught sports to a generation of children. But the longtime coach and president of the San Pablo Baseball Association was remembered just as much for his influence on the character of young people, on and off the playing field, at a ceremony Saturday to dedicate a new baseball diamond in his name.

"He was a real mentor to me," said Andre Williams, the league's player agent, who played for Foreman as a boy and eventually became his assistant. Williams credits Foreman with guiding him in the right direction at a vulnerable time of his youth.

"Now my kids are in college," Williams said, "because of him."

Rich Kinney San Pablo councilmember dedicates the Robert Foreman Jr. Baseball Field in front of family, friends and Pony Baseball players at Davis Park in
Rich Kinney San Pablo councilmember dedicates the Robert Foreman Jr. Baseball Field in front of family, friends and Pony Baseball players at Davis Park in San Pablo, Calif., on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Local hero "Coach Bob" guided the San Pablo Baseball Association for about 30 years and was head coach of the San Pablo Baseball League and the President of the association. He was also the head coach of the West County Spartan Football team for many years. (Anda Chu/Staff)

The dedication of Robert Foreman Jr. Field was the highlight of Saturday's opening day of the San Pablo youth baseball season after a parade from the National Guard Armory near Contra Costa College to John Hubert Davis Park.

The park recently got a $3 million makeover that includes the rehabilitation of Wildcat Creek as well as the new baseball diamond, lights, grandstand with art tiles produced by Helms Middle School students, landscaping and other amenities.

Foreman, who died Jan. 14 of cancer at the age of 60, was the driving force of the San Pablo Baseball Association for about 30 years. He also coached many years in the West County Spartans youth football program.

An affiliate of the national PONY Baseball organization, San Pablo Baseball is the oldest youth baseball organization in West Contra Costa and serves more than 100 children ages 4 to 14, league officials said.

A large group of Foreman's extended family, including his mother, Essie Foreman, of Vallejo; son Robert Foreman III, of Concord; sister Clarinda Caesar and aunt Vernell Farmer, both of Richmond, along with grandchildren, cousins and in-laws, helped unveil a "Welcome to 'Coach Bob's Field'" ceremonial sign.

"El señor Coach Bob kept kids out of trouble, and with his support, they stayed on the right path," San Pablo Councilwoman Cecilia Valdez told the crowd in Spanish. She also eulogized Foreman in English.

Widow Cynthia Foreman, of Elk Grove, later threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Councilman Rich Kinney, echoing some of Valdez's earlier remarks, said Foreman "spent virtually every spring and summer day in Davis Park," caring for his players and the park and the children playing there.

"When Coach Bob was around, this was a bully-free area where kids could be kids," Kinney said. "We are very delighted and grateful ... to get his memory locked into this field."

San Pablo Bob Sox and Giants players shag grounders following a dedication of the Robert Foreman Jr. Baseball Field at Davis Park in San Pablo, Calif., on
San Pablo Bob Sox and Giants players shag grounders following a dedication of the Robert Foreman Jr. Baseball Field at Davis Park in San Pablo, Calif., on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Local hero "Coach Bob" guided the San Pablo Baseball Association for about 30 years and was head coach of the San Pablo Baseball League and the President of the association. He was also the head coach of the West County Spartan Football team for many years. (Anda Chu/Staff)

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.



San Pablo Bob Sox players check out the field  following a dedication of the Robert Foreman Jr. Baseball Field at Davis Park in San Pablo, Calif., on
San Pablo Bob Sox players check out the field following a dedication of the Robert Foreman Jr. Baseball Field at Davis Park in San Pablo, Calif., on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Local hero "Coach Bob" guided the San Pablo Baseball Association for about 30 years and was head coach of the San Pablo Baseball League and the President of the association. He was also the head coach of the West County Spartan Football team for many years. (Anda Chu/Staff)