17 former Portland Mavericks players and coaches will appear at Ron Tonkin Field this coming Monday night, August 20th. Among the notables will be former manager Frank Peters also known for his Portland Beaver days. Frank managed the aptly named Mavericks in their second and third seasons.
Big League Chew
Rob Nelson will also be there. The left handed pitcher came up with the original idea for Big League Chew while killing time in the bullpen during a game. It not only made Nelson and his business partners millionaires, it also gave Rob a chance to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Not for himself – his bubblegum.
Pulitzer Prize Nomination
Fans might remember Larry Colton more for his award winning books like Idol Time about the 1977 Champion Portland Trailblazers. Or his Pulitzer Prize nomination. Maybe his founding of the local Portland Woodstock every November will strike a memory chord? Even if you knew all three facts about Colton, did you know he also pitched for the Mavericks?
These three members of legend will be joined by co-workers and teammates. All 17 original Mavericks will be available for a chance to meet the fans and sign autographs. You can find them before the game on the concourse from 5:55 to 6:25 PM. At 6:47, at least one former Maverick will be on the mound for the game’s ceremonial first pitch.
Portland Mavericks Young Version
You can even stay for the game to get more Portland Mavericks. This time around it will be the Hillsboro Hops wearing the uniforms of the legendary baseball team. First started in 2015, the event is now tradition. Players will trade in the Hops green and blue colors to wear the red uniforms of the Portland Mavericks to celebrate with the fans the legendary team.
The independent ball club played in the Portland market in the mid 70’s and quickly earned a reputation of obscurity made up of cast-offs and some who had never played a professional game. Hopefuls from all over the country flew, drove or hitchhiked to the Pacific Northwest for a chance to attend the open tryouts. Some even made it.
Bing Russell, Owner
It was owner Bing Russell who championed everyone to have a chance. Whether it was a former player wanting a second chance or someone who never had a chance, Bing would let them try. It was one of the reasons everyone who worked for the Hollywood actor respected the team owner.
The team of cast-offs made noise that couldn’t be ignored. No one gave them a chance. Crowds were sparse. Especially during the opening season. That all started to change in the second season, Frank Peter’s first, when the Mavericks won their first of three division championships in a row. Their success begged the question of how could a team of players everyone else rejected compete and win against high round draft choices?
Of course, that wasn’t the only action that drew attention. Since no one had wanted them, they didn’t care if other people thought they did not belong in the pro ranks. Their attitude became lovable losers who started winning. They would win the division and drink beer during the team photo in the same year.
Furthermore, if you would like to read up on the complete history and hi-jinx of the Portland Mavericks, read my previous in-depth article to catch up on what others know. I haven’t even touched upon Bing’s world famous son and Hollywood legend, Kurt Russell and how he came to wear a Maverick uniform. Or how the team had to hitch hike to get to a road game. Do you know the Portland Maverick’s connection with Elvis Presley? Blazing Saddles? Gunsmoke? The FBI? Read and you will know why they won’t be forgotten. Then, come meet them at the game and watch their younger versions take the field.