James Lee Combs Jr. (June 25, 1942 - December 16, 2010)
(excerpted from his obituary)
James Combs was the embodiment of dedication. One of the first African-Americans hired by the Housing Authority of Portland, he worked his way up from janitor to maintenance supervisor, and retired after 30 years of service. He developed a love for baseball playing in High School and playing for a state championship in Louisiana.
He began coaching Riverside Little League in 1978, and coached for 27 consecutive years. He was selected as an All-Star coach many times in those many years. During that time, he became a role model and father figure for many young men, as he coached them, alongside his sons and his grandsons.
His unwavering commitment to Little League baseball was recognized when Riverside dedicated its baseball field in his honor in 2003.
In 2010, James Combs was laid to rest. Every year Wilshire Riverside Little League presents the James Combs award to a baseball player graduating from Little League
The James Combs Award is presented to the player who shows that same dedication and determination. This player is always a positive presence on the field and truly happy to play baseball. This player showed up ready to practice and ready to play and serve as a mentor to his fellow baseball players.