In 1973, the Portland Beavers left town a few years ago and PGE park was converted into a soccer + football stadium for good. Which I like to joke further establishes that city’s hipster credentials that it got rid of the American pastime for soccer.
Anyway, the first time the Beavers left, Bing Russell (father of Kurt) acquired a Northwest League team for $500 in the first year of that league’s history and placed an A-Ball minor league team in the city to replace them.
If you know nothing about baseball know that AAA baseball — what the Beavers originally were — is the Off-Broadway to major league baseball’s Broadway play. Using the same analogy, Single A baseball isn’t even the touring company, but a downtown theater version of professional baseball. These guys could beat a college baseball team, but 85% of them are never going to spend a day on Broadway.
The Mavericks showed up in town and Bing brought Hollywood flair to the team, conducting an open tryout to court players and hiring a bartender and former pro baseball player as their manager.
In four years, the team took the city by storm and broke minor league attendance records averaging 3,800 fans per game in their final season, at the time a record and unheard of for such low-level baseball.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball talks about their reception, the characters that made up the team and all of their antics. Even if you don’t like baseball, it’s really a delightful story full of interesting people and everyone who delivers it makes you want to watch and hear more.
If you’re looking for something light, without being bored to tears, I’d make the recommendation to check out The Battered Bastards of Baseball.