Baseball narrative posted on the History Board in 2014, featuring baseball in historic Garden Home.
Ever since the playing fields appeared at the new Garden Home School in the early 1900s, ball players were there, with pick-up games, recess play, team and league events.
Baseball was very popular. In Portland, the Pacific Coast League was established in 1903. The local team was known as Portland Baseball Club, Portland Webfoots, Portland Giants, and finally was named the Portland Beavers in a newspaper contest in 1906. Folks took the streetcar to the Vaughn Street Stadium to see them play. Located at NW 24th and Vaughn Streets, the stadium held 12,000 fans and games were well attended. For a short while, an all-Black team, the Portland Rosebuds, played at the stadium. In 1956, the Beavers moved to the Multnomah Stadium, which became Civic Stadium in 1969 (now Providence Park). Games were a major event for the city, with all the trappings – lights, announcers, news coverage, organ music, and the 7th inning stretch with everyone singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” In 1961, legendary Satchel Paige was signed to pitch for the Beavers.
Young ball players practiced their skills and dreamed of the majors. Early organized ball centered around church teams. The Garden Home Methodist’s team played against churches from West Portland and West Linn. School teams competed with other Washington County schools.
Established in 1939 by Carl E. Stotz in Williamsport, PA, Little League became a sensation. By 1946 there were 12 leagues, all in Pennsylvania, and by 1955, Little League organizations were in all 48 states. In the 60’s, the league went international. Girls were excluded until 1974. The Little League Softball World Series for girls has been played at our very own Alpenrose Field since 1994.
Alpenrose Dairy became synonymous with ball playing. During the 50’s, the Cadonau children wanted their grandfather to see them play, so they talked their dad into building a regulation field on dairy grounds. The Cadonau family opened it up to community play. Countless kids and adults have enjoyed the ball games at Alpenrose under the lights, watching young ball players hit home runs and pitch no-hitters. In 2012 Alpenrose Stadium was selected as Softball Field of the year by the Sports Turf Managers Association, providing a safe playing surface for both Boys and Girls Little League play.
Alpenrose and other businesses sponsored teams. Moms and dads volunteered to manage and coach. Any Saturday in Spring and Summer kids in matching uniforms would be playing T-ball, softball, and baseball. The Garden Home field was always busy. Second and third generation Garden Home folks found themselves on the field once more, with their kids and grandkids – coached by people who used to play ball with them when they were young.
One local baseball star was Jim Partlow. He and his wife Yvonne lived in Garden Home on Firlock Lane. His children, Dede and Jim, went to Garden Home School. Jim had played for the Grant Generals in high school, went on to Linfield College and was on the all-American basketball team He was drafted by the Boston Redsox as pitcher, but declined the baseball draft for the army draft. He went on to coach the 1952 PIL Champions, the Lincoln Cardinals, plus a winning basketball team. In the 60’s, he became athletic director and coach for Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls.
Here’s hoping you enjoy this year’s World Series. And as you watch, may you remember all those Garden Home kids who also love the game.
-Louise Jones, 2014
Ed.note: This narrative was posted on the History bulletin board at the Garden Home Recreation Center in the summer and fall of 2014. Photos of several of the 1930s Garden Home baseball teams and their stories were also shared.
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