Calling all baseball fans! ⚾️ April is the beginning of baseball season and what better way to celebrate than with a walk that shares the rich history of Portland baseball.
It’s a short 1.5-mile walk, one way. Check out the former site Vaughn Street Park where the Portland Rosebuds and Portland Beavers called home, learn about the rag-tag team that was the Portland Mavericks, and how Olympian Jesse Owens played a major role in Portland baseball!
A Brief Walk Through Portland Baseball History
When it comes to Portland sports the Blazers, Timbers, and Thorns tend to get top billing but baseball has a long and rich history in the City of Roses. This walk and history guide will briefly touch on the places, people, and teams that are located near this route in NW Portland.
The intersection of NW 25th and NW Vaughn street is currently the home of an energy service company but was once the site of Vaughn Street Park. Vaughn Street park is the incubator to professional baseball in Portland. Built in 1901 and financed by two owners of local trolley lines, this field would be home to not only baseball but track and field championships and the Lewis & Clark Exposition. The Portland Webfoots (later renamed the Portland Beavers) were the first team to call Vaughn Street Park home. The Beavers played here until 1955 when the stadium was bought by a new owner who would later tear it down, the Beavers would move to Multnomah Stadium, now known as Providence Park.
The Portland Rosebuds also called Vaughn Street Park home. Making their debut in 1946 part of the all-Black West Coast Baseball Association. Then team owner Jesse Owens, yes the same Jesse Owens who only 10 years earlier won four gold medals and broke nine Olympic records at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. On June 4, 1946, the Rosebuds played their first home game against the Los Angeles White Sox. Sadly by July of that same year, The West Coast Baseball Association, along with the Portland Rosebuds were disbanded.
Notable players to have played a Vaugh Street Park: Satchel Paige, Joe Tinker, Jim Thorpe, and Ted Williams.
Providence Park was home to The Portland Mavericks from 1973-1977. The team’s unique history, somewhat unorthodox management and underdog attitude made them fan favorites. They attracted more than 100,000 fans in three of their five seasons. Team owner Bing Russell, father of actor Kurt Russell, had a one three-letter life motto: “fun”. This came across in many ways the team operated, from tryouts open to the public to the team mascot dog who would run onto the field on occasion during games.
The Mavericks also made history by hiring the first female general manager, Lanny Moss, and first Asian American general manager, Jon Yoshiwara, in professional baseball.
Currently, you can find two minor league teams in Portland, the Hillsboro Hops and Portland Pickles who are carrying on the excitement of this summer classic. Future hopes of major league baseball coming to Portland are being led by the Portland Diamond Project (check them out across the street from Providence).