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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.

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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

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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.

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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."

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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)

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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.