BY COLIN CHAPDELAINE
Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. The Roadrunners gather around David Buttle’s uniform as his number 22 is officially retired.
As the rain intensified throughout the Coachella Valley on Jan. 31, it forced umpires to reschedule COD’s game against the Cypress Chargers. Players and team staff rolled tarps over the pitcher’s mound as a crowd of fans and supporters gathered behind home plate to honor late COD head coach, David Buttles.
Buttles, a San Diego native, was drafted by the New York Mets in 1979 before an injury ended his professional baseball career only three years later. Following his departure from Minor League Baseball, Buttles worked as a pitching instructor at the San Diego School of Baseball while working to earn his bachelor’s degree and teaching credential from San Diego State University and his master’s in counseling at UC Riverside.
In 1992, David was named head coach of the COD Roadrunners, a position he would hold for 15 years before retiring in 2007. During this span, he held a record of 291-307 with a .486 winning percentage. In addition to his on the field success as head coach, Buttles was known for his mentorship approach in his relationship with his players. His willingness to share his expertise and mold young players into polished young men highlighted the reasons the crowd defied the rain to honor him.
Also in attendance during the ceremony were members of the Buttles family, including his wife and children. After the PA announcer shared Buttles’ many accomplishments with the crowd, the Roadrunners posed for pictures with his newly retired number ’22’ jersey. The team then formed a line and shook the hands of his family in attendance, in what was a touching finale to a joyous ceremony.
The Roadrunners were back on the field on Feb. 1 to continue the 9th Annual David Buttles Memorial Tournament, playing a makeup doubleheader while dropping game one to Cypress, 5-2 and earning their first win of the season in walk off fashion over Fullerton, 4-3.