Image of El Rancho Tropicana Hotel in Santa RosaThe Oakland Raiders started to train in Santa Rosa in 1963 at the El Rancho Tropicana Hotel, which was on the site where the Costco gas pumps are today at the S.R. Marketplace on Santa Rosa Ave.  I can remember John Madden doing bed-check at 11pm, visiting each player’s room, tucking them in for the night.  About an hour later you would sometimes see pretty young women moving the players’ cars out of the parking lot.  Kenny Stabler’s Lincoln Continental was usually at a different spot come morning.  The Snake remembers there were other incidents when the ladies would pick you up in their autos.  Date time was set at 11:30pm.  On those occasions, the Snake would crawl through a row of bushes only to see 15 other Raiders waiting for their rides on the other side.

The night usually started by visiting 5 different bars.  The Music Box is where the prettiest ladies hung out.  Melendy’s was the nearest & most frequented.

Oakland Raiders in Santa Rosa:

As players, the Oakland Raiders had to break up the monotony of training camp in Santa Rosa.  You can’t blame them for that.  Also, they embraced their Bad-Boy image.  So much so that the furniture at one of the saloons would be stored in the back.  This was because of the fights that would usually accompany women-chasing and drinking.   One night Marv Hubbard, a block of a player at six-two & 240 pounds, rode his precious Harley to the saloon.  After settling in at the bar, Marv noticed two Hells Angels sitting on his bike.  Marv approached and an argument ensued.  Punches were thrown.  Marv clocked them both.  The bikers rose, dusted off their club patches and entered the saloon with their new drinking partner.