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'It’s for the kids'

Posted: Friday, Sep 16th, 2016

Contributed photo Former coach and baseball scout Luis Silveira sits on the oceanfront wearing two items from his former teams — a North County Christian School baseball hat, and a Baltimore Orioles jacket.

Silveira gets remembered by those he touched

Upon their remembrance, few people are characterized as having left a “gaping hole” behind in their absence, but quite clearly, local baseball scout and friend to all Luis Silveira left nearly impossible shoes to fill.

From the national to local levels of athletics, Silveira made an impact that will not soon be forgotten.

Over the past decade, Silveira put most of his effort into the community of Atascadero, but locally he was a presence beyond those borders.

“A lot of people only see Luis in Atascadero, but he was a supporter of athletics from Santa Maria to Paso Robles,” former co-worker Dick Mueller said. “He gave and gave to the kids. “

Mueller saw Silveira invest in local programs while in San Luis Obispo.

“We met about 45 years ago,” Mueller said. “I was a baseball coach for San Luis Obispo High School, and he worked for the school district and would put on fundraisers and support the program.”

Mueller remembers Silveira as a selfless giver, who made an impact on sports outside of baseball.

“He helped put in the original lights in the SLO football field,” Mueller said. “He gave manual labor and raised money. The list goes on and on. It wasn’t just sports. He gave to science camps too.”

As Mueller said, Silveira made his biggest local impact in Atascadero, and it was six years ago when Babe Ruth Baseball president Conni Javine was introduced to Silveira’s motto that “It’s about the kids.”

That motto swept up Javine, and she has been a beneficiary and student of Silveira’s philosophy every since.

“I have known Luis for about six years,” Javine said. “fter I became the Babe Ruth president, he told me the first week to pick him up to do some fundraising. The next Tuesday, I went and picked him up and we went to a list of businesses. It was amazing to watch. People were ready with checkbooks open, asking ‘what do you need, Luis.’”

The way Javine describes Silveira, it is easy to see his heart out front.

“His motto is ‘It’s for the kids,’” Javine said, “and it is truly for the kids. He would be the first to volunteer, or barbecue, put a net up or field renovations. He was the kind of guy you did not want to say no to. You knew it was from his heart, and it was about the kids.”

It was about the kids for Silveira, and SLO Blues Baseball coach Dan Marple was witness to it for more than 40 years.

Marple met Silveira as a freshman in 1971 at Cal Poly alongside Silveira’s son Larry.

“Luis didn’t treat his son any different than anyone else,” Marple said. “He taught me that I was more valuable in the outfield because of my running ability. He was always positive. He always left you with a good feeling.”

Silveira’s impact was made at all levels, and those he made an impact with said he gave that positive effort to all skill and talent levels.

“He didn’t care if you were an outstanding athlete or an average athlete,” Marple said. “He always had something great to say.”

One of the players he made in impact on is Atascadero High School head baseball coach Casey Belt.

“Between my junior and senior year I remember him coming out when I was transitioning from outfield to catcher,” Belt said. “He helped me in my transition to college.”

When Belt returned from college, Silveira was in Atascadero still doing what he did.

“After my injury I wanted to stay in baseball,” Belt said, “and I called him up and he got me involved in coaching. He got me my first opportunity to start as a freshman coach. He got me my start and I’ve been coaching for about 15 years now.”

When Belt took the helm at AHS, Silveira stepped up to help.

“He wanted us to bring Atascadero baseball back to what it was when I played there,” Belt said. “With him, he always wants the best for the players, and the best for the community. It is a lot of hard work, and volunteers were very gracious with their time.”

Silveira left a big impact that Belt takes with him into the rest of his career.

“I’ve been honored and blessed to know the Silveira family,” Belt said. “Luis is instrumental, either being there to support us, or being behind me. He is very hands on, and very knowledgable.”

No matter how old they get, baseball is still a game, and brings out the kids in them — Silveira’s motto echoes timelessly.

“He always had a saying that ‘it is for the kids,’” Marple said. “I remember it like it was yesterday. He said it was for the kids.”

Around the county, his name hangs on fields that were left by his hard work. Kids will continue to walk by and see his name, and although they might not understand just what he did, they will grow up under the lights that Silveira built.

“They don’t just do that kind of thing for anybody,” Mueller said about the fields and plaques bearing Silveira’s name. “He was something special.”

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