PACIFIC COAST PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE 1946-47 to 1947-48 Conributed by J. Michael Kenyon The following summary is largely incomplete, it being a work-in-progress. The author hopes to have a fully fleshed-out history available in this space before 1999. ****************************************************************************** PCPBL 1946-47 FINAL STANDINGS (through Sunday, 23Feb47) W L Pct. GB Portland Indians 33 10 .767 .. Bellingham Fircrests 26 12 .684 4.5 Vancouver Hornets 24 14 .632 6.5 Seattle Blue Devils 18 19 .486 12 Salem Trailblazers* 8 21 .276 .. Yakima Ramblers* 8 25 .242 .. Spokane Orphans* 1 17 .056 .. *dropped by league ROUND ROBIN PLAYOFFS W L Pct. GB Bellingham Fircrests 9 3 .750 .. Portland Indians 7 5 .583 2 Vancouver Ramblers 6 6 .500 3 Seattle Trailblazers 2 10 .167 7 INDIVIDUAL SCORING GP Pnts PPG Gale Bishop, Bell 39 771 19.8 Norm Baker, Van 37 694 18.8 John Mandic, Port 42 642 15.3 Slim Wintermute, Port 42 440 10.5 Norm Dalthorp, Sea 436 Fred Osterhaus 352 Al Maul, Sea 344 Ernie Maskovich 333 George Andrews, Van 330 ****************************************************************************** Spokane's team was operated by Rufus Fox of that city. The Salem franchise, owned by Dan Hay, investigated the possibility of moving to Grays Harbor County in western Washington (Aberdeen and Hoquiam are the principal cities) but nothing came of that exploration (the four remaining teams engaged in a 12-game, round-robin playoff, each team playing two games at home and two away with the other three teams). TEAM ROSTERS Bellingham Fircrests- Gale Bishop F, Chuck Patterson F, Bob Cotton C, Bobby Dorr G, Al Akins G, Ray Wark G, Smith, Olson, Simon, V. Sindern, Marcell G Portland Indians- Urgel (Slim) Wintermute C (player-coach) (Oregon), Bill Taitt F, Mike Hafenecker, John Mandic F (Oregon State), Harry Parrish (earlier with Yakima) (Presbyterian College), Ted Sapola (Oregon), Jack Butterworth G, Howard G, Frank Mandic, Roy Pflugard G, Don Durdan, Bob Hamilton Salem Trailblazers- Ernie Maskovitch, O'Brink G, "Stretch" Osterhaus C, Don Stitt G, Len Yandle (Oregon), Kolb G, Johnson, Stroyan, Gray, Teyama, Anton, Vaughn Seattle Blue Devils- Norm Dalthorp F, Al Maul F, Glavin, "Sig" Sigurdson C, Parsons, Wally Leask G (Washington), Chase, Frankie Watson (Gonzaga), Ernie Maskovich, Logg, Bill Fleming, John Katica F (St. Martin's) Spokane Orphans- Johnson, Bill Magruder, Stroyan, Howard, Don Stitt, Bowen, Oberstaller, Olson (some of these players may have transferred from the Salem franchise when it ceased operation) Vancouver Hornets- Doug Peden G, Norm Baker F, Ritchie Nicol G, Arthur Chapman, Ken Lawn F, Reg Clarkson, Sykes, George (Porky) Andrews G (player-coach?) Yakima Ramblers- Harold (Moose) Schlicting C (Washington), Smith, Joe Matanich (Cle Elum, WA High), John Matanich (Cle Elum High), Don Sanders (Central Washington), Emil Drovetto G (Cle Elum High), Clipper Carmody G (Central Washington), Sorenson, Harry Parrish (later with Portland) Bellingham declined an invitation to the World Pro Tournament in Chicago following the season. Portland, picking up Norm Baker and George Andrews from the Vancouver Hornets to replace Mike Hafenecker and Bill Taitt, who were unable to make the trip, went instead as regular-season champions and playoff runnerups. The Indians met the Sheboygan Redskins in a first-round game on Sunday, 6Apr47 and led after three quarters, 43-35, before bowing, 62-48. ****************************************************************************** PCPBL 1947-48 FINAL STANDINGS (First half through games of Saturday, 31Jan48, second half through games of Saturday, 21Feb48) FIRST HALF W L Pct GB Seattle Athletics 22 10 .688 .. Bellingham Fricrests 21 10 .677 0.5 Tacoma Mountaineers 16 13 .552 4.5 Vancouver Hornets 16 15 .516 5.5 Astoria Royal Chinooks 11 19 .367 10 Portland Indians 7 26 .212 15.5 SECOND HALF W L Pct. GB Bellingham Fircrests 14 7 .667 .. Vancouver Hornets 13 7 .650 0.5 Seattle Athletics 8 10 .444 4.5 Portland Indians 9 14 .391 6 Tacoma Mountaineers 5 11 .312 8 LEADING SCORERS FG FT Pnts Norm Baker, Van 215 135 585 Noble Jorgensen, Port 188 100 478 Al Brightman, Sea** 183 137 443 Al Maul, Sea 425 Ken Hays, Ast-Bell 314 Arvid Sutherland, Port 299 Boody Gilbertson, Sea 288 Bill Osterhaus 282 Ray Wark, Bell 266 Bill Taitt, Port 238 John Katica, Tac 236 Bob Graf, Tac 233 Wally Leask, Sea 233 Norm Dalthorp, Sea 216 Ernie Endress, Tac 203 Rube Wirkkunen, Ast-Bell 199 Erland Anderson, Ast-Port 199 Otto Kerber, Port 196 Jack Voelker, Sea 187 Ken Lawn, Van 172 **Gale Bishop of Bellingham had scored in excess of 400 points before being sidelined in February and for the remainder of a season with a "cut hand." ****************************************************************************** PCPBL RECORDS Most Points, Team, Game 88, Portland vs. Bellingham, 14Dec47 Most Points, Team, Game 89, Astoria vs. Bellingham, 17Dec47 Most Points, Team, Game 97, Vancouver vs. Astoria, 27Dec47 Most Points, Team, Game- 108, Bellingham vs. Portland, 4Jan48 Bellingham (108)- Bishop 41, Wark 18, Gainer 4, Gaffney 14, Akins 19, Baker 5, Thompson 0, Pattran 2, Chamberlin 5; Portland (67) -- Smith 2, Sutherland 15, Jorgensen 21, Kerber 14, Taitt 0, Hashhagen 2, Stitt 3, Roos 5, Rodrigues 5 Most Points, Individual, Game 41, Gale Bishop, Bellingham vs. Portland, 4Jan48 (Bishop made 15 field goals and 11 of 17 from the free-throw line; he had 15 points at halftime, and added another 16 in the third quarter in the game, played in the Portland armory on a Sunday afternoon; Bishop played 42 of the 48 minutes; this was also the first time that a Coast Pro team had scored 100 or more points in a game; although research is incomplete, it may have been the only time, too; the loss, for Portland, was league-record 10th straight) Most Points, Individual, Game- 42, Noble Jorgensen, Portland vs. Bellingham, Saturday, 21Feb48 (Jorgensen made 16 field goals and 10 free throws for the record total); Portland won the game, 86-76, before a good crowd of 1,500 at the Portland armory. Most Points, Individual, Game- 43, Ken Hays, Bellingham vs. Portland, Monday, 15Mar48 (playoff game at Bellingham) League president Clark announced plans for a Southern Division (never to be realized) on 9Jan48. He named Oakland as the first franchise to be accepted and said the other five teams would come from the following cities: San Jose, San Francisco, Stockton, Sacramento, Redding or Long Beach, CA. On Monday, 2Feb48, the Astoria club (Palmberg Brothers, Inc., named after three brothers -- William, H.G. and Wally Palmberg) announced it would suspend operations due to "lack of attendance." President Clark later said that the franchise might be relocated to either Everett (WA), or Bremerton (WA). It was not revived, given that the league was in its last season. The team's star player, ex-Oregon "skyscraper," 6-foot-7-inch Ken Hays, was assigned to the Bellingham team. At about the same time, Tacoma franchise owners Eddie Mays and Milton Bay, both of Portland, were said to be seeking new buyers. ALL-STAR TEAMS First Team- Gale Bishop, Bellingham; Al Maul, Bellingham; Noble Jorgensen, Portland; Norm Baker, Vancouver; Al Brightman, Seattle. Second Team- Tom Smith, Portland; John Katica, Tacoma; Ken Hays, Astoria-Bellingham; Ray Wark, Bellingham; "Boody" Gilbertson, Seattle. TEAM ROSTERS Astoria (Lower Columbia River) Royal Chinooks- Bill Magruder F, Rube Wirkkunen F, Ken Hays C (Oregon), Jack Howard G, Vernon G, Ty Lovelace G (Eugene, OR High), Wally Palmberg G (player-coach-part owner) (Oregon State), Bob Warren G, Erland (Andy) Anderson F (Oregon State), Frank Smith Bellingham Fircrests- Al Maul F (Bremerton, WA High), Gale Bishop F (player-coach) (Washington State), Chuck Patterson C, Ray Wark G, Bobby Dorr G, Cliff Gaffney, Chamberlin, Al Akins G, Elmer Gainer (later with Seattle) Portland Indians- Bill Taitt F, Tom Smith F-C, Arvid (Suds) Sutherland C, Don Stitt G, Roy Pflugard G (player-coach in mid-season), F. Smith, John Bianco G (player-coach at beginning of season), Noble Jorgensen C (joined team upon demise of Waterloo franchise in BAA), Bill Dwyer F (Seton Hall), Good, Bowen, Ken Hashhagen (Pennsylvania), B. Anderson, Otto Kerber G (Waterloo in BAA), Harry Roos G (player-coach in late season) (Waterloo in BAA), Dave Teyema G (later joined Vancouver), Mike Hafenecker, Jack Butterworth, Ted Sarpola, Durdan, Abel (Rod) Rodrigues G, Stan Williamson G (Oregon), Al Popick G (Oregon), Jack Goldsmith Seattle Athletics- Wally Leask G (Washington), Price, Hal Kottman C, Al Brightman G (player-coach) (Boston Celtics of BAA), "Boody" Gilbertson G (Washington), Dean White C (later with Vancouver), Frankie Watson F (Gonzaga), Norm Dalthorp F (Washington), Bill Glavin, Ken Suesens G (Sheboygan of NBL), Elmer Gainer (with Bellingham earlier) Tacoma Mountaineers- John Katica F, Bob Voelker F (Washington), Bob Graf C, Hoffler F, Jack Voelker (Washington), Ernie Endress F, Sig Sigurdson G, Marv Harshman F (Pacific Lutheran), Tom Wark, Tom Cross Vancouver Hornets- Norm Baker F, Ken Lawn F, Bill (Stretch) Osterhaus C, Ritchie Nicol G, Doug Peden G, Arthur Chapman, Jack Vaughn, George (Porky) Andrews G (player-coach), Dave Teyema G (from Portland), Dean White C (with Seattle earlier) ****************************************************************************** The top four teams then engaged in a round-robin playoff series to see if another team would join first-half champion Seattle and second-half champion Bellingham in the playoffs. Seattle and Portland finished with 4-2 playoff records, necessitating a March 29 playoff in Portland, won by the Indians,79-76. President Clark -- remember, he was majority owner of the Portland team -- then announced that Seattle would play a best-of-three series with Bellingham, with the winner facing Portland in a best-of-five series for the playoff championship. Bellingham, for reasons not yet understood by this researcher, picked up Norm Baker from the Vancouver roster for the opening playoff game at home against Seattle. The Fircrests won, 84-77, but a protest by Seattle owner Don Adams to league president Clark over Baker's status resulted in Clark forfeiting the game to Seattle. Upon learning of this, Bellingham player-coach Gale Bishop declared his team would withdraw from the playoffs if the decision was not reversed. It wasn't and the Fircrests withdrew, leaving Seattle to host the first two games of a best-of-five playoff for the title. Portland won those two games and went home with a chance to close out the series, but Seattle continued the visiting- team success rate by winning the first game in the Rose City. Then came the fourth game of the series, and more excitement. On Friday night, 9Apr48, in the Portland armory, the home team led by 81 to 80 with 20 seconds remaining when Al Brightman, the Athletics' player-coach and star, came out of a rebound struggle with the ball and only ten, unmolested feet between him and his basket. As he took the first step, though, Portland timekeeper M.L. Wingate -- "accidentally" he said tripped the game-ending buzzer. Referee Frank Mandic (who had played for Portland the season before, along with his brother John) responded by blowing his whistle. Brightman, in mid-step to the hoop, hesitated slightly and then laid the ball up and in. After much heated discussion, league president (and Portland owner) Ray Clark declared the game "no contest" and said Game 4 would take place the following day. Portland prevailed in that game by a count of 76 to 74 and thus won the series, three games to one. It was to be the last game ever played in the Pacific Coast Professional Basketball Association, or League. By the time the 1948-49 basketball season got under way, the Coast Pro loop was defunct and a number of the Portland and/or Oregon-area players were to be seen performing in the Portland Basketball Association's Major League, ostensibly an amateur organization. Brightman, Harshman, Katica, Graf, the Voelker brothers, etc., began playing as a semi-pro team, called the Athletics, which scored a few wins in the next 2-3 seasons over the Harlem Globetrotters' western squad. Those Trotter games were all nip-and-tuck affairs and have become part of the lore of Pacific Northwest basketball, because at that time the Trotters were losing precious few games to any team. The Pacific Coast Professional Basketball Association, usually referred to as the Pacific Coast Professional Basketball League, or Coast Pro League, was a shortlived entity that lasted two seasons, 1946-47 and 1947-48. It was the brainchild of a Portland (OR) hotel magnate named Ray Clark, who also was the majority owner of the Portland Indians franchise in the league (along with co-owner Otis Anderson). Clark spent freely in an attempt to build the Indians into a competitive club and succeeded, winning the regular-season championship the first year and the playoffs the second season. A number of Clark's business cronies were dotted among the ownership of the other franchises, only a couple of which -- the Bellingham (WA), Fircrests and Vancouver (BC) Hornets -- were moderately successful at the gate. The Seattle Athletics, nee Blue Devils, and Tacoma Mountaineers pretty much were disappointments both at the gate and on the floor, but made it through both seasons as well. The Salem (OR) Trailblazers (a nickname that would one day be attached to an NBA team in the same state), Yakima Ramblers, Spokane Orphans and Astoria (Lower Columbia River) Royal Chinooks were flops, the first three failing to complete the first season and the latter team a second-half dropout in the second campaign. Astoria was chosen for a franchise location in the second season because occasional Portland games played there during the first season drew reasonably well. Bellingham played at least one game in neighboring Lynden (WA), and Tacoma's Mountaineers played at least one game in Centralia (WA). There may have been other "neutral" site games played which will be produced by additional research into the two seasons of play. A number of playing notables graced the league's rosters over the two seasons: Gale Bishop, Norm Baker, Urgel (Slim) Wintermute, Noble Jorgensen and Ken Suesens among them. Bishop, probably the most dominant scorer to play intercollegiately (Washington State) in the Pacific Northwest before the arrival of Seattle University's Johnny O'Brien and Elgin Baylor, was the mainstay of the Bellingham club, which had its origins as a solid amateur club in the 1930s. Bishop played a lot of top-flight amateur basketball, in and around the formation of the Coast Pro loop, and was for a time a star in the old "amateur" American Basketball League (predecessor to the "amateur" National Industrial Basketball League). The bulk of the PCPBL rosters were made up of former Pacific Coast Conference (Northern Division) collegiate stars, plus a few high-school standouts who, for one reason or another, didn't test the college waters. Almost all the coaches employed by the various teams were of the playing variety, ranging from ex-Boston Celtic Al Brightman (Seattle), who remained in town to coach the first of Seattle University's star squads built around the O'Brien twins, to Wintermute in Portland and to Bishop with the Bellingham club. The league rules called for 48 minutes of playing time, divided into four, 12-minute quarters, and allowed for six fouls before an individual's disqualification. Most of the games were played in local National Guard armories or in municipal arenas such as Seattle's Civic Auditorium. The Spokane team, living up to its Orphan sobriquet, began the 1946-47 season as a road team, having been unsuccessful in finding a regular place to play. After playing a couple of home games on the Whitworth University floor, the Orphans made a deal with Gonzaga University in Spokane to use the Bulldog gymnasium for the remainder of its abbreviated schedule. A good crowd for the Coast Pro league was between 1,000 and 1,500, with a couple houses approaching the 2,000 mark in Portland. But, all too often, the lesser members of the loop played before thin gatherings of barely 100 or more. The major-city newspapers of Vancouver, Seattle and Portland were sparing in their coverage of the new league, which sprang from the prosperous times immediately following World War II and which produced an explosion of new leagues in most major sports. These, in turn, fell prey to a variety of circumstances, most notably over-expansion, inadequate playing facilities and the advent of television's early days. The Coast Pro Basketball league was one of the casualties, with Clark declining to launch a third season in 1948-49.