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A GOLDEN CELEBRATION FOR PENGUIN ATHLETICS


1st Row (seated): Leroy Frasier, Eric Peterson, Jack Berry, Dale Giles, Terry Burke, Frank Gallas

2nd Row (middle): Ron Rasmor, Ken Warren, John Aldridge, Dick LaManna, Kenny Davis, Delone Bausch, Don Wendt, Harley Hall

3rd Row (standing): Manager Art Pugsley, Jim Babcock, Tom Garrow, Joe Quinn, Sam Smith, Joe Johnson, Ted Atlee, Assistant Coach Herman Jones, Coach Skeet O’Connell



The Clark College Penguin Athletic Club (PAC) and Alumni Association marked the 50th anniversary of the College’s baseball state championship-winning season at a ceremony on Saturday, February 18 in the O’Connell Sports Center gymnasium.  The event took place during halftime of the men’s basketball game.

First Row – Eric Peterson, Dale Giles, Frank Gallas
Second Row – Ken Warren and Del Bausch
Third Row – Manager Art Pugsley, Tom Garrow, Sam Smith, Joe Johnson, Assistant Coach Herman Jones, and Coach Skeet O’Connell

The 1956 championship series was played against Yakima Junior College on an unnamed field east of Mill Plain Blvd. and Fort Vancouver Way, where passing cars dodged foul balls.  As reigning champion, Yakima was favored to take home the title. Clark College pulled off a huge upset, winning the best of three series in two straight games (2-1, 2-1). 

Herm Jones (left) and Eric Peterson share their memories of playing on the 1956 championship team. Athletic Director Lisa Quednow-Bickler chats with Skeet O’Connell as Frank Gallas looks on.

At the recognition event, players were presented with a replica of their 1956 baseball caps and the official team photo was recreated.  In a poignant component of the ceremony, the signed winning team ball was presented to the family of outfielder and Blue Angels Commander Harley H. Hall.  Hall’s plane was shot down on his third tour of duty in Vietnam and he has been listed as missing in action since 1973.  The mounted trophy will go on display in the H.H. Hall Building in Hazel Dell. 

Jim Raines, far right, presents the winning ball to the family of Harley Hall.

The team was made up predominantly of high school players from Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon.  Team captain Joe Johnson, who resides in Woodland, Washington, was the veteran having played for four years in the Navy.  He recalls the team and its coach Claude “Skeet” O’Connell with pride, “All of the young men were dedicated and had a professional approach they got from Skeet.  He had a knack for communicating that made you listen and want to achieve.”  Johnson drove in the last run of the second game to clinch the championship. 

The reception included refreshments for the team and their families, as well as photo displays documenting the history of baseball at Clark College.

The momentous occasion brought together team members from as far away as Arizona along with coach Claude O’Connell, assistant coach Herman Jones, and manager Art Pugsley.  O’Connell led four basketball squads, three golf teams, and this one baseball team to state championships in his 40-year career at Clark College.  He was ecstatic to reunite with his team, “It was great to see players I haven’t seen since that time and let the community know we’re still here.” 

Players Del Bausch and Joe Johnson, third and fourth from left, enjoy visiting with family and friends in the hospitality room. Sam Smith, Dick Anderson, and Art Pugsley visit at the event. Pugsley is wearing his original Clark College letterman’s sweater.

Clark College alumni from the 1950s also attended the event, which included a reception for the 1956 players, their families and friends as well as Clark College faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Team member John Aldridge and alum Gene Orcutt reconnect 50 years after attending Clark College. Alums Roger Strobel and Darrell Williams congratulate team members Herm Jones on the team’s success.
 

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The 1956 team roster and current known residences of players is included below.

John Aldridge

Keizer, Oregon

Ted Atlee 

Bend, Oregon

Jim Babcock

Unknown

Del Bausch 

Olympia, Washington

Jack Berry

Portland, Oregon

Terry Burke 

Deceased

Kenny Davis

Elma, Washington

Leroy Frasier

Long Beach, Washington

Frank Gallas

Las Vegas, Nevada

Tom Garrow 

Vancouver, Washington

Dale Giles

Surprise, Arizona

Harley Hall

Deceased

Joe Johnson, Captain

Woodland, Washington

Herman Jones, Asst. Coach

Vancouver, Washington

Dick LaManna

Portland, Oregon

Claude O’Connell, Coach

Vancouver, Washington

Eric Peterson

Gladstone, Oregon

Art Pugsley, Manager

Vancouver, Washington

Joe Quinn

Unknown

Ron Rasmor  

Gresham, Oregon

Sam Smith

St. Paul, Oregon

Ken Warren 

Vancouver, Washington

Don Wendt  

Woodland, Washington


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