Former Astoria baseball coach Dave Gasser was honored recently, along with 12 others, by the Friends of Baseball organization, as part of their first group of “Oregon Legend” inductees.
“It was a pretty neat deal,” Gasser said. “It’s an organization that was created in 2006, to promote baseball at the youth level and grassroots level, and they want to acknowledge people in state who have made contributions at all levels, baseball and softball, from players and coaches to umpires.”
And his years at Astoria late in his coaching career had everything to do with his being inducted, Gasser said.
“Had I not coached at Astoria, I wouldn’t have been included. Every significant milestone I reached in my career was the result of having come back to coach Astoria, so I’m thankful to the community for the support.”
The first group of inductees featured 13 well-known names in Oregon baseball and softball, and included:
Mike Clopton (longtime coach at Wilson HS).
Jack Dunn (39-year coaching veteran, retired in 1994 after 20 consecutive winning seasons at Portland State).
Joe Etzel (University of Portland coach).
Dave Gasser (member of two-time PIL and state champion baseball teams at Madison; member of 1969 national champion American Legion baseball team; coached Madison baseball team to eight consecutive PIL championships and 1981 state championship, coached Astoria to two state titles, in 2006, ‘09. Holds record for most high school coaching wins in Oregon history, with five state champions at three different schools, 18 league champions and 12 semifinal appearances).
Jerry Gatto (longtime coach at Cleveland High and Lewis & Clark College).
Jim Joyce (Oregon resident and former Major League umpire, 2000-2016).
Art Larrance (Linfield baseball).
Teri Mariani (former softball coach at Portland State).
Dick McClain (coached at Madison HS for five years; only coach in Oregon to win American Legion World Championship; won five of six Oregon Community College titles at Linn-Benton).
Ad Rutschman (baseball coach at Linfield for 13 years).
Dale Scott (longtime MLB umpire, 2000-2017).
Sue Seaver (softball umpire).
Rick Wise (Madison High School alumni, led his Portland team to the Little League World Series in 1958, then went on to pitch in the majors for 18 years with Philadelphia, St. Louis and Boston).
“They had a neat affair for the induction,” Gasser said, as the Friends of Baseball organization staged a “Ten Grands on the Diamond” event Aug. 11 at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro, where the inductees were introduced.
“It was nice that it included Dick McClain, who was my mentor at Madison, and coached my American Legion team that won a national championship (1969, the only Oregon team to ever win an American Legion title).
“And Rick Wise played at Madison, so three of the 12 inductees had ties to Madison.”
McFadden named Gulls’ coach
In other high school baseball coaching news, Seaside named Dan McFadden has the next varsity coach, replacing Joel Dierickx, who stepped down last spring.
McFadden recently led Seaside’s junior state team to a third place finish in the summer state tournament.