The extremely popular, unique and fun-loving Portland Mavericks were an independent team in the Northwest League of Professional Baseball from 1973 to 1977. They were owned by longtime television actor Bing Russell, best known for his role in the hit television series “Bonanza”. Bing was also the father of Hollywood legend, Kurt Russell, who also played for the Mavericks in their inaugural season in 1973.
Bing was an innovator, and his Mavericks bore his trademark. They signed stars – former major league pitcher Jim Bouton – and castoffs from other professional teams. Bing believed everyone deserved a chance to play and realize their dream, and open tryouts were an annual tradition. They hired the first professional female baseball General Manager, and the first Asian-American General Manager. Former Oregon State University standout basketball/baseball player Frank “The Flake” Peters was the player/manager for the team in 1974 and 1975. Frank signed with the Baltimore Orioles, and played ten years of minor league baseball. His motto was “no team rules”. Other notable players were Reggie Thomas, Larry Colton, Terry Jones, Rob Nelson and Dick Rusteck. The batboy was Todd Field who went on to a long career in Hollywood, including being a three-time Academy Award nominee writer and director.
In 1977, the Mavericks last season, they set a record for the highest attendance in short-season play at 125,300 for 33 games. Their success was not limited just to the gate, the Mavericks played for the Northwest League Championship in three consecutive seasons (’75-’77) and posted impressive records of 45-35 (’73), 50-34 (’74), 42-35 (’75), 40-32 (’76) and 44-22 (’77). Their record in 1977 was best in the Northwest League and led them to the Southern Division Championship – winning the division by 22 games!
Welcome back to the fun-loving Portland Mavericks.