Tampa, Florida --For Jefferson High School, their baseball clubhouse is like a museum to the game for the city of Tampa.
On the walls you'll find pictures of famous local ball park legends like Sam Militello and Tino Martinez, not to mention a locker and a game worn jersey from Luis Gonzalez. Just like every museum that has a curator, the leader of this clubhouse and the Jefferson Dragons for the past 42 years has been Pop Cuesta.
The legacy and the players that paved the way for the Dragons is everywhere. Every team from as far back as the 1940's are posted proudly, equivalent to a team's Facebook page by today's standards. Over the decades, Jefferson baseball has had plenty of players worth tweeting about, like Fred McGriff and Tony La Russa. But for Emeterio "Pop" Cuesta, who was raised in a golden age of Ybor City baseball, he's spent more than four decades bringing Old School knowledge of the game to his school.
"In the early part of Ybor City, a lot of the kids that were growing up had parents that played professional ball. They played growing up and they taught their sons how to play the game and they are very fundamentally sound," said Cuesta.
Cuesta will tell you that's one thing that's changed over the decades, the fundamentals have disappeared, but Jefferson's success stories are everywhere you turn. During Cuesta's tenure, he's sent more than 30 players to the professional ranks and has racked up over 600 of the Dragons' 800 wins. The conference and city championship have accumulated over the years as well, but he doesn't consider those accomplishments his greatest.
"A lot of kids that have left here have been successful in life and have contributed to our community and that's what it's all about," said Cuesta.
Cuesta's working on a book on the history of Jefferson baseball. As far as retirement goes, he sees the light at the end of the tunnel but he wants to hang a few more teams on the wall, and write a couple more chapters before calling it a very successful career.