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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Ron Monks, a San Diegan now living in the Ukraine, has led a volunteer effort to bring youth baseball to Eastern Europe.  With political unrest in his adopted homeland baseball equipment is hard to find.  Pictured here are some
of the boys who proudly wear hand-me-down uniforms.  Ron and the kids needs baseballs.  Let's help him.
TO THE UKRAINE WITH LOVE--Troubles in the Ukraine aren’t just limited to a sour economy and threats from Russian aggression.  Hard times have trickled down to the nation’s little league level, where supplies of baseball equipment are at a low ebb.

Ron Monks is an ex-pat from San Diego, California, who is now living in Illichivsk, a few miles outside of Odessa along the Black Sea in the uninvaded southern part of the Ukraine.  He has spent the last four years organizing youth baseball from scratch in his adopted homeland.
That's Ron Monks wearing his San Diego Bears cap posed with his ball players

“Our program has grown and baseball supplies have dwindled,” says Monks, who moved his internet based business to the Ukraine, where he’d be near in-laws and where the cost of living was lower.

One of the big sources of some cash and a lot of equipment has come from Monks’ team mates in San Diego.  Ron played for the San Diego Bears, a 55 years and older
division team in the North County Mens Senior Baseball League, where he was a powerful hitter and slick fielder before he had to retire from playing because of a heart ailment that put him on blood thinners and on the bench.

“When I got to the Ukraine I had to do something to keep baseball in my life, so I started coaching local little league age kids and organizing leagues for them,” he said.

And, girls are learning the game, too
For equipment, his baseball pals in California found a way to get the gloves, bats, ball, uniforms to Russia via an east coast container shipping company.

Ron tells his supporters “your generosity has been a real source of pride for me as an American.  I can tell you first hand that Americans are the most respected and admired people on earth as seen through Ukrainian eyes.”

Politically, Ron remains upbeat as are most of his adopted countrymen and women. “As you know, Russian troops are amassing at Ukraine's borders, threatening to invade the rest of this peaceful and disarmed country and making life for all Ukrainians stressful.  But everyone here is carrying on.”

Now, into his fourth baseball season he’s making a call for “whatever help you can offer.”

William Sturgeon, a San Diego accountant and rallying voice for Ron’s program locally points out, it is best to send baseball related stuff to his re-shipping agent in New Jersey who will take care of combining donations into one box and forwarding to the kids in Ukraine.  “They’ll  take used donations, but remember when you played little league there was nothing like getting a new glove or bat.”
Ron Monks (front row, center) has been getting support for his Ukrainian little leaguers from senior hardball players like the San Diego Bears, members of the North County Mens Senior Baseball League, who have chipped in cash, baseballs and equipment to assist Ron's pioneering efforts in Eastern Europe.
This blog has just wrapped up a dozen new baseballs for Ron and sent them off.
Packages should be addressed to:

Ronald Monks (000329)
Meest America
641 Dowd Avenue
Elizabeth, NJ 07201-2116

When Ukrainian’s realize he’s American they often ask what he missed most about living in his native California.  Ron’s answer was easy “I tell them that I miss the weekend baseball games with guys my age.”

But because baseball knows no boundaries, Ron Monks and his circle of parents and volunteers, are helping new generations of Ukrainian kids how to play ball.

For San Diego info contact one of Ron’s longtime San Diego Bears team mates
William Sturgeon, CPA at or 858-663-4199.

Ron’s Ukrainian baseball adventure can be followed on facebook at "Play Ball, Ukraine!"

For more on 55 year old and older baseball in San Diego County click

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