Saturday, July 18, 2009

Roy Helser, Beaver pitcher & Linfield coach, dies at 83

The Oregonian, Wednesday, October 26, 1994

By KEN WHEELER (a Linfield grad)
of The Oregonian staff

Former Portland Beaver pitcher and Linfield baseball coach

“He was one of God's gifted people.” – Paul Durham, classmate, coaching colleague and friend.

The Portland native starred for his hometown baseball team, then added a national baseball title while coaching at his college alma mater

Roy Helser, a man who pitched with distinction for the Portland Beavers for more than a decade half a century ago, then later made a name for him­ self as a coach at his alma mater, Linfield College, died at his McMinnville home Tuesday.

Helser, a native of Portland and graduate of Benson High School, was 83. Death was attributed to causes re­lated to age.

Helser, a left-hander, was a top pitch­er with the Beavers from 1942 to 1952 and was a member of Portland's 1945 Pacific Coast League pennant winning team.

It was an era when the Beavers played in old Vaughn Street ballpark and rode a wave of popularity that saw them draw nearly half a million fans 1947.

Later, Helser coached at Linfield for 21 years, then served as athletic director at the school for four years before retiring in 1972. The baseball field at the college was named after him several years ago. “He was one of God's gifted people,” said Paul Durham, who was a classmate, coaching colleague and friend through the years. “I can't say enough wonderful things about him. I'm limited.”

Durham, who lives in Hawaii, and Helser were classmates at Linfield from 1932 to 1936. Durham returned to Linfield as football coach in 1949 and Helser joined him the next year.

The two served as co-coaches of the basketball team for four years while Helser also was the baseball coach. Helser then took over the basketball duties alone and continued as the baseball coach and also as an assistant on Durham's football staff.

During his 21 years as baseball coach at Linfield, the Wildcats won 14 Northwest Conference championships, and his 1966 team won the NAIA national championship.

One thing that marked Helser throughout his career was his competitiveness.

In 1956, four years after Helser left the Beavers, the team moved from Vaughn Street into what was then called Multnomah Stadium. A staple of the time among fans was Rollie Truitt's Beaver Scrapbook, and in that 1956 edition there still was a picture of No. 25, Roy Helser, beneath which was written, “One of the fiercest competitors ever to wear ' a Beaver uniform.”

Helser's pro baseball career started at Waterloo, Iowa, in 1937. Later, he pitched for the Salem Senators of the Northwest League in 1940 and 1941, and then signed with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League in 1942. Late that season, he was acquired by the Beavers.

At first, it was part time. Helser also pitched for a team in the Albina Shipyards League in 1943, before settling in as one of the Beavers’ top pitchers for the next several years. He had three consecutive 20-win seasons, going 20-16, 20-14 and 20-16 from 1944 to 1946. He also made a mark as a semi-pro player and manager in a time when that carried considerable weight, first with the Silverton Red Sox, then with the Drain Black Sox.

“He was one of the greatest competitors that I have ever known,” said Ad Rutschman, former football coach and current athletic director at Linfield who played both baseball and basketball for Helser at the school.

“He was just a great competitor, and that rubbed off on everyone. The quality of his programs was always outstanding.”

Ted Wilson, who succeeded Helser as basketball coach at Linfield and worked with him there for 11 years, said: “When we speak of Roy Helser, the first thing I think of is a great competitor. He was like a brother to me. We had a great time working together. When I think of Roy, I think of honesty, strength, integrity, and compet­itiveness. It's very difficult to realize he’s not going to be with us any longer.”

Helser is survived by his wife, Dorothy; sons, J. Dennis Helser of Salem, and Roy Helser Jr., of Portland; daughter, Susan Peterson of Tualatin; brother, Morris Helser of Tigard; nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church at McMinnville. The family has requested that remembrances be made to the Roy & Dorothy Helser Baseball Scholarship Fund at Linfield.
The Volga Germans in Portland, Oregon
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Roy Helser was a top pitcher with the Beavers from 1942 to 1952 and was a member of Portland's 1945 Pacific Coast League pennant winning team.

Later, Helser coached at Linfield for 21 years, then served as athletic director at the school for four years before retiring in 1972. The baseball field at the college was named after him several years ago. “He was one of God's gifted people,” said Paul Durham, who was a classmate, coaching colleague and friend through the years. “I can't say enough wonderful things about him. I'm limited.”

Roy Helser was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.

Linfield Athletics Newsletter of Nov. 10, 1969

NOV. 10, 1969

Dear Friends of Linfield Athletics:
We were very optimistic here at Linfield upon the writing of the first newsletter back in September and now have reason for new hopes. The building program, which is going on down below us right now, is hopefully drawing to a close, the football Wildcats are back in a familiar spot – first place – and Ted Wilson’s hoopsters have begun a new season with practice, Nov. 1. Since losing the season opener to Portland State, 26-21, Ad Rutschman’s ‘Cats have taken five of their past six games and are riding a three-game winning streak going into this weekend’s College of Idaho tilt. The Wildcats need only to take the game in Caldwell to cinch at least a tie for the conference title. Rutschman came through with another thriller, Saturday, as his troops reared back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to squeak by Willamette 20-17. Linfield’s only league loss has come at the hands of Pacific Lutheran, 27-21, in a game in which the Lutes denied Linfield in a brave last ditch come back attempt. Other Northwest Conference victories include a 15-3 decision over Pacific, 17-7 over Whitman and 14-0 over Lewis and Clark. As you can see, the games have all been closed with the ultimate decision virtually hanging to the last seconds in some.

It cannot be denied that Ad had produced another fine foot
ball team in his second year at Linfield. The Wildcats have been getting their share of publicity out of the season also. OF note was an article in the Sunday Oregonian (Nov. 2) on Linfield’s tough defense. Many thanks go to Chuck Humble, student sports information director, and Tim Marsh, who held the job last year and is assisting Chuck. The have both had a busy fall with the football brochure, game programs and a million other details that crop up from time to time in covering Linfield football. We’ve received excellent publicity in the local newspapers (Salem) and even in some others, further away. A clipping of a story written by Kenn Hess, Sports Editor, of the Coos Bay World, filtered across my desk a few weeks back. Also, articles have appeared to our knowledge in the Milwaukie Review, McMinnville News-Register, and North Bend Sun and News besides our regular news outlets. For the first time in Linfield sports history, radio KMCM is broadcasting all home and away football games. Dick Bacon, local businessman, and Frank Molek, Linfield grad and former student body president, are handling the coverage for KMCM. Dick has already left for the Hawaii game as he is combining both business and pleasure on this one!

A rather hectic few days face Ad and his Wildcats. The make their two longest trips of the season on back-to-back weekends. Following the trip to Caldwell, from which they arrive back on Sunday afternoon, they leave again Wednesday morning from Portland International Airport via Northwest Orient Airlines for Honolulu. Some of you may be making this trip with the team and we wish to extend out hopes for both a good game and a pleasurable vacation. Local travel agent, Peter VanLeerdam, is handling the tour and will accompany the team and fans. He is also in charge of basketball trip to Honolulu in January and anyone interested in going with the team at that time could make arrangements through The Travel Bureau (503) 472-5127 in McMinnville. Peter has done an outstanding job in helping get Wildcat teams where they have wanted to go and was a major factor in helping the Wildcat basketball team log over 6,000 miles last winter mainly on trips to Alaska and Kansas City.

Several of the alums in Hawaii are anxiously awaiting our visit there. I wrote to Kenny Ling, who is working for Palama Settlement in Honolulu. Kenny and the rest of them are anxiously awaiting the football team and we are looking forward to a very happy time with members of the party. We have a luau planned for that Sunday night and he has a lot to do with getting it together. Kenny in past years has been a great deal of help to our football team in transporting the team to different places and making arrangements for different functions in the Islands. It will be nice seeing him again.

Following his three-day tournament, Ted Wilson has begun formal practices. Ted has nine letterman returning and four of those are starters. We are looking forward to another outstanding season in which the ‘Cats will be seeking to repeat as Northwest Conference champions for the sixth time. The conference has cut its schedule from 18 games to 12 this year giving us many more non-conference games. Therefore, Ted has put together an outstanding schedule which includes such outstanding teams as Central Washington. Last year, CWSC finished third in the NAIA tournament after Linfield had split wit them on the regular season. Other top opponents include Humboldt State, Portland State, the University of Hawaii and St. Martin’s College. Returnees to Wilson’s squad include all-conference choices Dan Beeson, Gary Donnell, and Pat Smithey. Other lettermen are Keith Shriver, Bobby James, Jim Sims, Ross Peterson, Terry Miller, and John Venemon. Ted kicks off his season with the annual tip-off tournament being held at Willamette and Lewis and Clark, Dec. 4-6.

Anyone who happens to pick up a Converse Basketball Book may notice the team picture of Linfield’s 24-4 past season on page 19. The ‘Cats are also listed among teams in the nation with the fewest losses.

The Cross-Country team coached by Hal Smith is winless, meet-wise, but finished sixth in the Northwest Conference meet held last week in Salem. Top performers for the Wildcats are freshman Jim Williams from Albany, Jerry DeVore from San Leandro, along with lettermen Mike Westfall and Tim Marsh. Newcomers who have helped Hal’s team include Jim H. Rich, Dan O’Brien and Bob Bogardus. Westfall, after breaking his finger, has been forced to run in several meets with a cast. He is also a top performer on the Wildcat track team in the spring.

Speaking of track, Keith Shriver finished fifth in the NAIA Tournament in the 200 yard dash. The meet was held in Billings, Montana on its all-weather track. Keith’s points allowed the ‘Cats to tie for 46th in team standings. He is also a basketball letterman and has high hopes for another outstanding track campaign.

Dave Kernan, swimming coach, has been organizing his team for the winter season. The team will again use the McMinnville Municipal Pool for its practice sessions and home meets. Men turning out for the team include: Ken Roberts, William Brenner, Edward Bird, Glen Shepard, Dennis Wiley, Shawn Fisher, Emerson Wood, Kim Vannatter and Dale Croy. Women turning out are Billie Marsh, Connie Hermen, Jan Beesley, Sheryl Bartel, Angie Chinn, Nancy Schonfeld, Heidi Harrison, Anita Hunt and
Kathy Howard.
About the construction of the new student center in Riley Hall which has directly affected us, it is expected now to be completed about the first of January and reading for the students to use when the second semester begins in the middle of January. Already, the book store has moved to where out old offices were. Bookstore manager John Dillin has found the new smaller space causing him some problems but has made the move with a minimum of difficulty and inconvenience. The trophy case which was removed with the moving of the post office across the hall will be rebuilt, (and is nearly complete now) on the wall straight ahead as you enter Riley. It will be a little smaller that the old one but will provide a nice place of attention for our athletic awards. The rest of the student center is just beginning. The large patio on the west side of the building has been done for some time, but delays in wiring and heating equipment have caused the postponement of completion time.

Speaking of new things, the new baseball diamond is looking very good. Both the infield and outfields have been planted and the hope now is that winter rains do not cause a serious settling of the areas which contain the drainage tiles. I plan to play all our varsity games there this season if it comes along satisfactorily.

On behalf of gifts, our heart-felt things go to the Autzen Foundation of Portland for its $3000 grant to purchase a universal gym. The equipment will make a great contribution to our physical education program and physical fitness area.

From the mail we hear that Dave Lum, Linfield alum, is the new co-owner of Toyota of Astoria and recently he and two other partners held their grand opening.

Tom Caspell, private first class United States Army, has been awarded the bronze Star Medal for heroism not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. While under heavy enemy fire, he gave aid to the medical team with treatment of the wounded and aided the evacuation operation until he was seriously wounded. His courageous professionalism and selfless concern for his comrades and instrumental in saving soldiers’ lives.

Terry Picknell, class of ’59, is at home recovering from an operation to remove some growths. The major surgery was done at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, but it has helped Terry to expect to return to a normal life. He is expected to be fully recovered in about a year’s time. He would like to hear from friends and you may write to 224 Raymond Road, North Bend, Oregon. Terry was an All-Conference tackle under Paul Durham in ’57-’58 and graduated in business administration and has worked for Pape Bros. Implement Co. in Eugene, Coos Bay and North Bend.

Russ and Bonnie Hollinshead from Bend, a couple of alums from a few years back, stopped by after the PLU game. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in, but they left a card saying they saw a real great ball game.

George Murdock, former sports information director and good buddy of the athletic department, has been named vice-principal at W.F. West High School. He joined the Boosters Club and said his new school has topped the 800 student mark and is busy on a million dollar building program. He has bought a home about four miles south of Chehalis. His new address is Rt. 5, Box 564, Chehalis, Washington 98532.

My old coach Henry Lever, who is now 85 years old, dropped a line the other day. He is one of the great people I have ever met in my lifetime, and I will always remember him. I always remember what he did for me and other people like myself. If it hadn’t been for Coach Lever, I would never be here today. He was reminiscing in a littler about going to Dr. Riley, who was president at Linfield when Coach Lever first came here. He asked for a little tuition help for the athletes which up to that time only students studying for the ministry and were from strong Baptist families were receiving. As his entering argument, he said, “It is harmful to players and to student morale to always lose.” He mentions also that his was probably the entering wedge toward getting some aid for the athletes here at Linfield. Lever now employs seven people at the Henry Lever Real Estate Agency in Madras. Here is another quote from his letter: “I will be 85 next Saturday. I feel the same as many years ago, but will probably collapse when taking a wind sprint some day, and that will be alright also, for my life has been enriched by the wonderful men whose path’s crossed mine in their youth, and have gone ahead and done a wonderful job in life.” Some of you old timers might drop him a card—he’ll be thrilled to hear from you. You can reach him by sending a letter or card to the Henry Lever Agency, P.O. Box 89, Madras, Oregon 9741.

Sp. 4 John Hart dropped a card from Vietnam where he is stationed at 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang. It is a seacoast town along the central portion of Vietnam. He says the area is relatively pleasant and secure compared to the rest of Vietnam. The only get mortar and rocket attacks once in a while. He says their biggest worry is the “Sapper” attacks in which the VC try to blow up the hospital with satchel charges. John’s address is Sp. 4 John Hart …98th Med. Det. (k.o.), A.P.O. 96240.

Bob Dungan says he’s now at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Washington as the principal. Bob isn’t a Linfield man but has always been a Booster for the Wildcats.

Before I forget, a couple of “Thank Yours” to Louie King, who flew in from Michigan, and the Robert Harrisons from Alhambra, California, along with many, man others both near and far, who game to McMinnville for the Linfield-PLU Homecoming football game.

Any friends you have who wish to be on our Athletic Department Newsletter mailing list can do so by notifying the athletic department.

Keep smiling.

Best wishes,
Roy Helser
Athletic Director


Add the following name of the Wildcat Athletic Newsletter:

Send this form below to: Linfield Athletic Department, McMinnville, Oregon 97128


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ad Rutschman Baseball Stadium dedicated in Hillsboro

Rutschman gets his due from Hilhi

by Steve Poehler, Hillsboro Argus
Tuesday July 7, 2009, 3:00 AM

A sign at the entrance reads, "Welcome to Hare Field Athletic Complex." Below, two lines say, "Elden Kellar Track" and "Craig Ruecker Stadium."

The latest addition? "Ad Rutschman Baseball Stadium."

Yes, in a tribute that most in attendance said was long overdo, the Hillsboro High School community honored local legend Ad Rutschman with a ceremony Saturday afternoon at newly renamed Rutschman Stadium.

The dedication also included the official unveiling of the field's new electronic scoreboard, which was installed above the left-field wall in early May.

"It's about time we've been able to honor him for all he's done," current Hilhi athletic director Steve Drake told the audience.

Former and current Spartan players and coaches, friends and family came together for a barbecue and the dedication, all to pay tribute to Rutschman.

Earlier in the day, Rutschman served as the grand marshal for the Hillsboro Rotary's Fourth of July Parade that snaked through the streets of downtown.

"I want to thank you very much for this very special and wonderful honor," Rutschman told the crowd.

Following Drake's introduction, five Hilhi graduates spoke about Rutschman.

First up was Larry Binkerd, class of 1961, who had the not-so-easy task of trying to list some of Rutschman's numerous accomplishments.

Rutschman, a 1950 Hilhi graduate, later coached his alma mater to state titles in baseball and football. By the time he left for Linfield College in 1968, his Spartan baseball teams had racked up a 246-79-1 record, and his football squads had gone 58-30-8.

While at Linfield, Rutschman guided the football program for 24 seasons and the baseball program for 13 seasons, and he worked as the athletic director for 25 years.

He retired from coaching in 1991 and as the AD in 1996.

Rutschman was inducted into the hall of fames of the NAIA (1988), Oregon Sports (1993), College Sports (1998) and Linfield (1998). He was also named Oregon's Slats Gill man of the year five times.

"Congratulations, coach, this day is kind of for you," Binkerd said.

Bob Mewhinney (1970), Greg Lord (1967), Dan Rickard (1967) and Ron Webb (1968) also got a chance to tell stories and talk about the impact of Rutschman and his wife of 57 years, Joan.
Mewhinney said he's never met a man that he respected more or a better person than Ad.

"This is where coach Rutschman taught us to be a man," said Lord, referring to the baseball and football fields at the Hare Complex.

Said Rickard: "I never played for a better coach, and I've never known a better person than coach Rutschman."

Drake said the $40,000 scoreboard wouldn't have been possible if not for the generous donation of time, money and labor by the Hillsboro baseball community, Ken and Roman Gratteri and the Hoffman family, among others.

Ad & Joan Rutschman Hillsboro 4th of July parade grand marshals

Music features add spirit to Saturday July 4 Rotary Parade

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Hillsboro Argus

From the White House in Washington, D.C., for the Presidential Inaugural Parade, to Main Street in Hillsboro for the Hillsboro Rotary Club 4th of July Parade….

Later, the story says:

= “Hillsboro native and sports icon Ad Rutschman as grand marshal will be up near the front of the parade along with his wife Joan. His selection fits well with the parade theme this year of "Teamwork Wins." Former players he has coached will come right behind them, plus a team of 11- to 12-year-old players, reflecting Ad's interest in an early start for ball players… =

Hillsboro ready to celebrate Independence Day
Posted by The Argus July 03, 2009 13:00PM

Hillsboro native and coaching icon Ad Rutschman is the grand marshal of the parade and will be near the front of the parade lineup with his wife Joan. Former players Rutschman has coached will be right behind the grand marshal's car.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Linfielder Bob Walker retires as a Roseburg High football coach

Coaching career ends for Roseburg's Walker

By TOM EGGERS/The News-Review, Roseburg, Ore.- July 10, 2009

Talking football, even if high school and college practices are still a month away:Roseburg won't have a familiar coaching face around when it begins daily doubles in late August. Bob Walker, a member of Thurman Bell's staff the past 23 years, has ended his coaching career dating back to 1975.

Walker, 56, coached the offensive line and worked with the defensive ends. Known as “Elliott” around the coaches' room, Walker was part of the most successful 10-year stretch in school history.Roseburg won state titles in 1995 and 1996, and was a co-champion in 1990.

The Indians finished second from 1987-89. Roseburg had a terrific run of talented linemen during that time, and Walker got the most out of them.“It's been great ... all the people,” said Walker, who plans to teach health and physical education at RHS the next two years.

“The coaches, the kids, the community. I always enjoyed going to practice after getting out of the classroom.“It's been fun. It exceeded what I thought it would be.”Walker had been thinking about retiring from coaching for a couple of years.

He said last year was a struggle for him physically.“It was a rough year,” he said. “I was so banged up and tired by the end of the year. My knee wouldn't bend. My back started hurting, and both shoulders started acting up.”Walker served the third-longest time on Bell's staff, trailing Ron Goodell (33 years) and Mark Engle (28 years). Bruce Walker (no relation) is entering his 23rd season as an assistant.

“Elliott was with us for a long time and did a wonderful job,” Bell said. “He was a technician ... a great Xs and Os guy, and knew the offensive line inside and out. He wasn't a rah-rah coach. He did an excellent job of working with the kids who were highly motivated.”Walker was in the press box on Friday nights, giving Bell his input on which plays to run when the Indians were on offense.“That was where he was at his best,” Bell said.

“He had a pretty cool head.”Walker coached the likes of tackles Heath Howington (1987-89), Brad Simmons (1988-90), Matt Morrow (1995-96), Sandon Duncan (1995-96) and Robin Knebel (1997-99), guards Chris Gibson (1995-96) and Matt Brock (1997-99), and centers Greg Harris (1987) and Toby Johnson (1996). Howington (Oregon), Knebel (Oregon), Gibson (Oregon State) and Brock (Oregon State) all became starters on the Division I level.

“I could give you hundreds of names,” said Walker, who politely refused to name an all-time top five list of best blockers. “It's tough to remember when everyone played. There were other kids (aside from the all-staters) who were amazing, to play like they did.”

Walker — a 1970 graduate of Grants Pass and former Linfield College player — came to Roseburg after 11 years of coaching under Ad Rutschman at Linfield.

Bob says he'll spend more time on the golf course this fall. He added a vacation with Laurie, his wife of 25 years, is in the works for later this year.“My golf game is bound to get better,” he said.

“It can't get any worse.”

BEAVERS. All reports out of Corvallis say the Rodgers brothers — James and Jacquizz — should be 100 percent by the time OSU's fall camp begins on Aug. 10.