Historical Sports: 1949 Short Shorts

The 1949 Crimson Bears: Left-to-right: Coach Dade Nickol, Jerry Majorty, Harold Sunderberg, Dave Graves, Itch Hansen, Bill Mickel, Milton Schultz, Gus Adams, Bill Graves, Bill Sperling, and Rod Pegues. If you have any information on this photo or any other early sports in the area or other historical tidbits please call the Juneau Empire Sports Editor, Outdoors Editor, or Online Editor. See daily historical photos on page A2 and in Sports. For more historical photos go to Juneauempire.com. The Juneau Empire is celebrating a "Century of the Empire" and is encouraging readers to submit old photos, comments or information on the areas rich history.

The most obvious difference between basketball now and basketball back in the days when a pick-and-roll was more important than a thundering dunk, is the size of player’s shorts. There were no baggy garments when the legends of the game took to the court, and no excess fabric to protect from floor burns and bruises.


The 1948-49 Juneau High School Crimson Bears won 24 games and lost six. They first ten featured senior captain Bill Graves, a three year letterman; Seniors Gus Adams and Harold Sonderland, two year letterman; senior Jerry Magorty, first year on the squad; junior Bill Sperling, two year letterman, junior Milt Schultz, first year on squad; sophomore Bickle, first year; sophomore Dave Graves, two year letterman; and seniors Reggie Kleweno and Chuck McClellan, sophomore Don MacKinnon, and freshmen Ralph Treffers and Joe Ninnis.

The Crimson Bears played 17 non-interscholastic games and lost four (to Columbia Lumber and Mike’s Night Owls in City League play, and to Sitka ANB and the Metlakatla Vets in the Gold Medal Tourney.

In City League, J-Hi beat the Moose and ACS and beat Douglas in a game that counted in city league and Southeastern Alaska Interscholastic basketball conference standings.

After Christmas holidays the Crimson Bears lost to Mike’s and then won the rest of their city-league games, however the two earlier losses kept them from the city title.

The Bears started the Gold Medal tourney with a 53-27 win over the Kake Black Cats and then 49-28 over the Mt. Edgecumbe Grads. The Metlakatla Vest dropped the Crimson Bears into the loser’s bracket with a 30-25 win. Juneau then beat the green and gold Columbia Lumbermen 51-32 and the Mt. Edgecumbe team again 35-33. Sitka A&B stopped Juneau’s comeback run to the title with a two-point win and Sitka went on to the crown.

In the interscholastic play Juneau went 13-2 including defeating Douglas and Sitka High and then took the northern title with a two-game sweep of Skagway. That series was delayed a few days as high winds forced the Bears, on board the Donjac, to return to Tee Harbor. The following day the storm force the Bears, on board the larger boat Santrina (operated by Juneau Spruce Corportation) with well-known waterman Louie Baggan, to stop at Shelter Island and then return to anchor at Auke Bay. Twenty fans on board the Afognak with skipper Jim Cole also returned. Skagway, and former Juneau coach Barney Anderson, had planned dances, parties, bowling, roller skating, a Chamber of Commerce dinner and a party for the Bears.

The Petersburg Vikings, winners of the southern division, traveled to Juneau for the right to represent the Southeast Conference in the All-Alaska games. Although handicapped by the loss of Bill Mickle in the first game and Milt Schultz for both games, the Crimson bears squeezed past the Vikings 35-32 and 49-46.

The All-Alaska championship was in Anchorage. Juneau faced the Anchorage High School Eagles. The Bears lost the first two games 37-31 and 40-32, and won the third game big 49-26. The first two losses, however, gave the title to Anchorage. The season honors included 2nd place in City League, 3rd in Gold Medal, Northern Division Southeast champs, Southeast Champions, and 2nd place All-Alaska.

The 1948-49 Douglas High team included James Cuthbert, James Pinkerton, Gary Bach, Robert McCormick, David Clem, James Sey, Lawrence Pusich, James Stevens, managers Lyle Riley and James Ruotsala and coach Romell Wiles.

Some events of that time included the Juneau food store Piggly Wiggly severing it’s connection on August 9 and reverting to it’s former name the United Food Company. According to its manager Edward S. Nielson the firm will continue to operate in the Blomgren Building on Front Street.

On August 23 everything was set for the Evergreen Olympics in Evergreen Bowl, according to Stan Garrett, physical instructor. Events included swimming and diving contests as well as track and field events. Signed up to take part were Elton Engstrom, Elbert Carlson, Don MacKinnon, Jeff Pegues, Ralph Trevers, Ray Weidman, Bill Orme, Mason Beach, Raymond Beach, Lee Nance, Leo Osterman, Jerry Richardson, Greg Ripke, Dick Folta, Buzzy Hayes, Jim Long, Jerry Godkin, Johnny Richardson, Eddie Dull, Bob Ripke and Julian Rivers.

On January 3, 1949, Richard E. Garrison was badly bruised but miraculously escaped serious injury when he was caught under a marquee that crashed to the sidewalk under a load of wet snow. Garrison was able to duck back into a doorway in front of Fern’s Portrait studio on Second Street . The marquee had been attached to the Hixson Building, formerly the Opera House, at Second and Seward.

On May 16 the Gastineau Channel baseball season opened in bright sunny weather. The American Legion won the opening game over the Moose team 6-2. Playing for the Legion were Schmitz, Nielson, Allred, Cope, Rollison, Kristen, Metcalfe, Krause and Pasquan. The Moose were Selmer, Halloway, Phelps, McClellan, Magorty, Daughtery, McNeil, Craig, Moore and Miller.

On May 18, American President Lines vice president John T. Tanaher arrived from Seattle to begin a car-ferry survey of Southeastern Alaska for the Alaska Road Commission. The proposed ferry system for trucks and passenger automobiles would serve coastal towns in links starting at Prince Rupert, B.C., and continuing to Haines, probably with a terminus at Juneau and resumption of the water route at Tee Harbor.

on June 13 the Juneau Municipal Airport dedicated a new terminal building, it was the first city-owned air terminal in Alaska. Pan American Airways and Pacific Northern Airways fulfilled their pledges of cooperation by purchasing $50,000 of airport revenue bonds, which will be retired in 15 years from building rentals.

On June 23 the $75,000 Salmon Creek Country Club burned to the ground. The blaze broke out at 7:30 p.m. just after 200 tables had been set for members of the National Federation of Federal Employees who were holding their annual banquet. The fire started in the kitchen. Proprietor Tom George estimated his total loss at $200,000 with $20,000 insurance.


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Wed, 06/20/2018 - 07:07

Little League names all-star teams

The Gastineau Channel Little League announced on Sunday and Monday the Major Baseball, Major Softball and Junior Baseball and Junior Softball all-star teams.

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