Saturday, July 02, 2011



IVANO SAYS: AS MANY OF YOU KNOW: I devoted a whole chapter in my book on Pacific Coast League Hall of Famer, Joe (Pino) Brovia - The Davenport Destroyer. Joe grew up in Newtown, Davenport-CA. and started to play baseball on 1st Street (Newtown). From there his highly successful career included playing for the San Francisco Seals, Portland Beavers, Oakland Oaks and Sacramento Solons. He even had a stint with Cincinnati Reds of the American League. Joe was elected to the the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2005. Now it appears that the spirit of Joe Brovia lives on in his Great Grandson, Levi Snowden. I received the following information from proud Great-Grandma Cathy Brovia.

Hi Ivano,

I thought maybe some of your readers would like to hear about the Davenport Sluggers great grandson Levi Snowden...

Levi is 8, going on 9, and loves and breathes baseball. He plays for the Kalawai Pinto team. in Kauai, and was selected to play in the ALL STAR TOURNAMENT IN OAHU JUNE 11, 12....

I sent him an e-mail and told him I was praying that he would hit a home run for grandpa in the tournament. His father (Matt) wrote back, and told me he would tell me all about what happened in the game when he got back from Oahu...

An e-mail I received reads......

Dear Grandma Cathy,

Your prayers were answered! In the bottom of the last inning with the score tied and one out, LEVI hit your home run (photos above), and a walk after that.. It was the highlight of the tournament as it was against the TOP SEATED TEAM. Levi's team went 5-0 and Levi played solid defense and batted over 500. Grandpa must have said something to him after the swing and miss... Thank you for your encouragement and support. It was a wonderful weekend..Sending lots of love, Matthew...

An e-mail I received this morning tells me Levi has been hitting left handed as well and looks to be comfortable from that side of the plate. (Joe Brovia was a notorious left handed pull hitter.)

DON'T YOU THINK THIS A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK???? I know Joe would be so happy to have him follow in his foot steps...

It is so sad that all my grand children and great grand children live so far from me. Idaho, California, and Hawaii....They grow up, and you don't get to watch them.

Levi also has a sweet sister called Selah, she is going on 4, and is a pistol when it comes to singing and baking, they tell me.....

Ivano, I know how much you love bragging about your grandson, so I thought I would let you know,,,,, I have a little to brag about too...!!!

Sempre avanti.... Cathy



Hi Ivano....
That was so nice of you to do this for me..... Did you find the baseball in the air?????? It looks like a speck in the sky.... between those two guys, and high above that "fence post"....

I am so proud of that little guy..... Matthew spent a lot of time with us when he was very small. Joe baby sat (along with his mother) while Jeany worked... He tried to get Matthew to play baseball, because he was so willowy and relaxed, but timing was not right. He teaches school in Kauai. also teaches art... He is a very good artist...Think his wife Becky also teaches.....

Anyway, sending a big hug for the nice article.. I know Matthew will be happy...

Sempre Avanti, Cathy

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

My pleasure Cathy. And yes I did see the ball in the air, "A high flyball to's way back there..way back.. you can tell it good-by"
(Call of Lon Simmons (sp?)SF Giants' Hall of Fame Broadcaster)

BTW: If you "clicca" on the photo the ball shows up real well. Hope to see you and other members of the Brovia Family at the Reunion on Sept 18. SA IVN0

Diane Bianconi said...

Awesome I remember Joe and what a great guy he was it would be wonderful to see the great grandson follow in his footsteps

LARK 'da LARK' said...

Ivano, such a beautiful story about Levi Brovia and especially because I
have Furlan connections via the marriage route. Even more so now that the
great grandchildren are beginning to arrive who have direct Furlan
ancestral connections with that great group of people who are always in
the "sempre avanti" conditions.

Enjoy your upcoming Furlan gathering, I will be thinking of you and will
lift a mall glass of grappa, to the good health of all. Sempre Avanti.

All the best, Lark Hunter en Godeassi, of Manzano (P.Udine).

Ivano says: Thanks Lark. Actually the Brovias were not "Furlans" although my parents Bronco and Valentina were such good friends with the Brovias that they might as well have been. Joe (Pino) Brovia's
sister, Lina, was my baby sister when my mother brought me home to Newtown.
Also,the Davenport-North Coast Reunion is an all inclusive event.
Some Furlans will be there, but also many more non-Furlans will be in attendance. In fact, non-Italians will also be there representing multi- ethnic groups across the board. All have Davenport-North Coast ties,and/or have an interest in its history.

Lido Gemignani said...

Hi Ivano,
Thanks for the home run article. It's good to see the family staying with baseball. I remember Joe well. When he delivered beer to our "Paisano Grocery Store" in Ben Lomond,
Joe took time to help me develop my pitching. He taught me how to wind up and put my weight into the pitch as I was the pitcher for the Ben Lomond Angles.

Sempre Avanti, Lido Gemignani

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Lido for your comments. Joe was always willing to help others.
BTW: The Davenport North Coast Reunion on Sept. 18, is being held at Harvey West Park in Santa Cruz.
Joe played ball on the baseball field at that location C.1953-54. He was playing for the Sacramento Solons at the time and they were holding their Spring Training Camp there. They even had a Joe Brovia Day. The baseball field (and park)
has be re-configured, however, the memories remain the same. SA IVN0


Below is an e-mail Cathy Brovia received from her grandson Matt
Snowden(Levi's father). Thanks Matt
for your thoughts. ivn0

Grandma, i don't know if the honolulu paper ran (article with photo of Levi hitting his homerun) it. i can look through the archives to find out. tomorrow the team goes to the county council to receive certificates from the mayor. we really appreciate your enthusiasm and support for levi. reading the blagga and your letters to ivan below brings tears to my eyes as it is a historical account in a way. i did lose my interest in baseball at the critical time, and at times have regretted it now, but everything happens for a reason. it is neat for levi to see the history that he comes from and i can't help but think that his starting to bat left handed is based on reading, hearing about and seeing photos of grandpa. By the way, I think he will eventually be mostly a left handed hitter as his swing is smoother from that side. i will send more photos through email and i have an 8x10 of the home run shot for you to put in the mail. Becky's family has been here so it has been a little busy. i showed the blog to her family and they were naturally thrilled and interested. will be in touch.
love and aloha, matteo

LaNORMA said...

Great information on the blogga about Joe Brovia’s grandson! That is what we have to always be sure we research and pursue – the new generation! We never know if we are “close” in contact with the descendents because most have American names that we don’t recognize. I always ask because you never know!!
I remember my parents talking about the success of Joe and how proud his family was.
Truly it was a great milestone and something we were all proud of. Our “little Italian” from Newton!!

I reflected on that thought so much this 4th of July. How our parents denounced their (old) country and became “Americans”. “Coming to America ” always chokes me up a bit as it really is the story of our dear ancestors coming here for a better life and leaving behind their families and all that they had known all their life. What courage – especially not knowing the language, etc.
We think of this often but sometimes it really hits you and you reflect a little deeper into the meaning

Of it all. “Proud to be an American” takes on a very special meaning!!

We all – as you have done Ivano – need to tell our stories of each one of our parents, grandparents,
whoever came so that the new generation can read about where and when it all started and why they are even here today! We take so much of the past for granted. The new generation needs to know.

Again – wonderful story of baseball and the Brovia legacy. Let’s hear about more “new Italian generations”

And their accomplishments!!

Ciao & Sempre Avanti - LaNorma

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Norma for your insightful comments. How true, how true. Its up us to keep the memories alive.