Bob Cooper keeps looking over his shoulder, expecting to see a familiar face.
But no one is there.
"I came to the park Saturday to get the field ready for a JV tournament, and I looked around thinking, 'Where's Louie,' " said Hoover High baseball Coach Cooper. "But I won't be seeing him anymore."
Gone is Lewis Edward Deisbeck, 83, who died of pneumonia after a lengthy illness last Thursday.
For more than 40 years, Deisbeck was known simply as Mr. Hoover.
Deisbeck attended almost every Hoover athletic event, but baseball was his favorite. He had his own team cap and jacket, and for road games the team bus picked him up in front of his house--located down the right field line of the school baseball diamond.
Mr. Hoover was laid to rest Tuesday at Forest Lawn in Glendale. Cooper delivered the eulogy. Six Hoover players--selected from a larger number of applicants from the team--served as pallbearers.
"I didn't have to say anything to the team about going to the funeral," Cooper said Monday. "But they will all be there.
"He was a great gentleman. It's easy for me to say I'll speak (at the funeral)."
If Cooper has a regret about Deisbeck's death, it stems from 1983--"we were on the bus to Lakewood for a quarterfinal playoff game. Louie got up and told them team, 'If we can win just one more CIF championship, it will be the last thing I want before they take me.'
"Then we lost the game in the last inning. On the way home, he said, 'This is the toughest loss of them all.' "
At Hoover, they know the feeling.
The following is an alphabetical listing of Glendale area baseball teams and their prospects for the 1986 season:
Crescenta Valley (Southern Section, 4-A Division, Pacific League): Coach Randy Siebert, entering his eighth year with the Falcons program, faces a problem common to many teams in the Glendale area this season--inexperience.
Crescenta Valley returns only two starters from a team that went 15-7 and made it to the second round of the Southern Section playoffs last season. His top pitching and catching duties will be assigned to sophomores.
"We're pretty much building this season," Siebert said.
Mike Muhlethaler, who batted .412 and made the All-Pacific League first-team as a sophomore, returns as the starting shortstop. The only other letterman is honors student Brian Von Lossberg, a second-team all-league pick at third base.
Eagle Rock (City Section, 3-A, Northern League): The Eagles return two starters from a team that went 12-11 overall last season.
Pitcher Mario Provenzo, who batted .363 in 1985, and second baseman Oscar Ruiz, provide the only experience in Coach Dennis Shaw's lineup.
Albert Landeros, a transfer from Pater Noster, will be the leadoff batter and play center field for Eagle Rock.
"We should have pretty good team speed and pretty good defense," Shaw said. "But until we find out about our hitting, we'll have to be aggressive on the bases to make things happen."
Flintridge Prep (Southern Section, Small Schools Division, Prep League): This may sound familiar. The Rebels are young and inexperienced, returning only two players from a 13-6 team that made it to the second round of the section playoffs.
Coach Manual Nunez will start six sophomores and a junior. The team's only seniors--Jeff Crawford and Todd Freer--will handle the pitching chores.
Meanwhile, the search for a replacement for all-league pitcher Steve Wright continues.
"We are questionable in a sense that we are so young," Nunez said. "But I think we might surprise some people who will take us for granted."
Franklin (City Section, 3-A Division, Northern League): The Panthers are a favorite to unseat two-time defending league champion Marshall.
Coach Richard Campbell returns five starters and boasts a pitching staff that could include three of the top five pitchers in the league.
Franklin's top hurlers figure to be junior Ricky Lopez, senior Joey Garcia and sophomore Sammy Genie, who tossed a three-hitter as the Panthers won their season-opener against Hamilton two weeks ago.
Junior shortstop Ramon Martinez, who batted .350 last season, will be a candidate for All-City honors, Campbell said.
Franklin was 9-6 last year, losing in the City quarterfinals to eventual champion Venice. This year could be even better, Campbell said.
"I can figure every year that league will come down to Marshall and us," he said. "If we get to the 10-week (grading) period in good shape, we have a good shot at possibly taking league and doing well in the playoffs."
Glendale (Southern Section, 4-A Division, Pacific League): If the strength of a team is determined up the middle, the Dynamiters could be in good shape.
Coach Bud Murray said he has one of the better catchers in the area in Ward Frye, while all-league third baseman Steve Paknik has moved to shortstop. Last year's shortstop, Ray Walton, will be at second base. Freddie Lingad, a second-team All-Pacific League pick, will be in center field.