Portland Mavericks

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Portland Mavericks
League Northwest League
Location Portland, Oregon
Ballpark Civic Stadium
Year founded 1973
Nickname(s) Mavs
League championships 1973
Colors "Streetwalker Red"
"Dig Black"
"Snow White"
Mascot "It's a Jogarza"
Last season 1977
Ownership Bing Russell
Management Lanny Moss
Bob Leveqsue
Manager Hank Robinson
Frank Peters
Steve "Cut" Collette, Jack Spring

The Portland Mavericks were a minor league baseball team in Portland, Oregon, United States. They began play in the Class A Northwest League in 1973 after the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League moved to Spokane, Washington. The Mavericks were owned by ex-minor league player and television actor Bing Russell, and operated as the league's only independent club. Russell kept a 30 man roster because he believed some players deserved to have one last season. His motto in life was one three lettered word; FUN.[1] His son, actor Kurt Russell, played for the club in its inaugural season (and again, though very briefly, in 1977). Longtime minor-league star Hank Robinson managed the Mavericks to a division title in 1973, their first season, and Steve "Cut" Collette managed them to a second division title in 1977, their last. When the Pacific Coast League expanded for the 1978 season, they added a new Portland team, and the Mavericks shut down (after receiving considerable compensation from the PCL). In 1977 the Mavericks attracted 125,300 fans to 33 home dates, while the 1978 Beavers had 96,395 fans and 69 home games.

The first-year Mavericks' Hollywood connection was not limited to Bing and Kurt Russell. Manager Hank Robinson was an extremely successful character actor, and players Robbie Robinson[disambiguation needed], Jason Tatar, and Ken Medlock all have enjoyed long careers as actors as well. Perhaps the team's most successful Hollywood story is that of Maverick batboy Todd Field, who went on to have a long career as an actor before becoming a three-time Academy Award-nominated writer and director.

Among the various castoffs who made up the Mavericks' roster was former major league pitcher Jim Bouton, who made a comeback with the Mavericks after having been out of baseball since retiring in 1970. His landmark book Ball Four was set mostly in Seattle, and Bouton returned to pitch at Seattle's Sick's Stadium in 1975 after a five-year absence, tossing a 2-1 complete game win over the Seattle Rainiers. After the game, he said, "I told Joe Schultz I'd pitch here again someday. I just didn't say at what level." Bouton pitched for the Mavericks again in 1977, eventually making it back to the majors with the Atlanta Braves the following year. Bouton's greatest Maverick achievement was his collaboration with his teammate and pitching coach, Rob Nelson, to develop Big League Chew bubble gum.

The Mavericks played home games at what was then known as Civic Stadium. The Mavericks disbanded when Portland returned to the Pacific Coast League in 1978, but their success helped inspire the establishment of several independent minor leagues beginning in the 1990s, including the Northern League.

A documentary on the team, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.[2]


Further reading[edit]

  • Jim Bouton: "Buses, Beer and Emboldened Batboys", in Mark Armour, ed.: Rain Check: Baseball in the Pacific Northwest, Society for American Baseball Research, Cleveland, OH, 2006, pp. 114–115.

External links[edit]