Astoria's Cliff Crandall

Astoria’s Cliff Crandall, in his days as a player at Oregon State.

Cliff Crandall, a 1943 graduate of Astoria High School and a member of the school’s Hall of Fame, died on April 9.

Crandall, 93, was born Sept. 26, 1925 in Astoria, and was living in Tigard at the time of his death, according to his older brother, George, who lives in Portland.

Both Crandall brothers played basketball at Astoria, and both eventually ended up at Oregon State University.

During Cliff Crandall’s days as a basketball player with the Fishermen, Astoria won 30 straight games over two years under head coach Wally Palmberg.

As a junior, Crandall and the defending state champion Fishermen were 27-4 (or 24-8, by OSAA records) and won the 1942 Class A state championship with a 34-22 victory over Corvallis.

Crandall led Astoria in scoring his senior year, which ended short of a Fishermen three-peat when Palmberg was called away to join the service during the 1943 state tournament.

Basketball was big in Astoria in those days, George Crandall said.

“Did we ever play,” he said. “Then we both played (at Oregon State) for Slats Gill. The basketball at Astoria was going strong back then. And I’ll tell ya, we won the ball games.”

After high school, like many of his teammates, Cliff Crandall enlisted in the military for the duration of World War II, serving in the Army Air Corps. He enrolled at Oregon State in 1945.

And his basketball career picked up just where he left off.

In fact, Crandall’s scoring average actually increased with the Beavers — to the point where he would finish his college career as Oregon State’s all-time leading scorer.

As a four-year letterman (and twice a team captain), Crandall became the first player in Oregon State history to top 1,000 points. He eventually earned all-Pacific Coast Conference and All-American honors (1948 and ‘49), and finished his college career with 1,248 points.

The record stood until it was passed by Dave Gambee (1956-58), who finished with 1,468, and Crandall slipped to third when Mel Counts (1962-64) became the Beavers’ all-time scoring leader with 1,973.

Crandall is No. 17 on Oregon State’s all-time scoring list, just ahead of former Knappa Logger Brian Jackson’s 1,236.

And Crandall is still on a few other career top 10 lists in Oregon State history, including sixth in games played (126) and eighth in free throws made (388).

His other career highlights included a 29-point outburst against Oregon (the most at the time by an Oregon State player vs. Oregon), and in a 1949 Final Four game, Crandall led the Beavers with 18 points in the third-place game, a 57-53 loss to Illinois in Seattle.

Crandall was inducted into the State of Oregon Hall of Fame in 1981, and the Oregon State athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 (followed by Palmberg’s induction in 1991).

He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1948, in the NBA’s second-ever draft, and the first draft for the Lakers.

Crandall’s obituary states, “he was drafted by the fledgling NBA but couldn’t raise his new family on the low wages. Times have changed.”

Crandall eventually joined the San Francisco-based Stewart Chevrolet AAU club, which won the national Amateur Athletic Union title in 1951 under head coach and national College Hall of Famer Hank Luisetti.

Crandall and his family moved back to Oregon, where he began a long career in life insurance.

“He was an extraordinary athlete that never bragged,” his obituary states, and “a caring father that was always there, and a loving husband with a passion for his wife of 43 years.”

Crandall is survived by his wife, Linda; sister, Jane; brother, George; daughter, Shari; son, Doug; grandchildren, Brett, June, Kevin and Matthew; and great-grandchildren, Mei Lien, Kai Li and Cody.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Daily Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or ghenley@dailyastorian.com.

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