Various Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Pennants – Oregon State University (OSU) c. 1890-1927

While I have been fortunate to come across and obtain many old Oregon State University pennants, there are still several from the school’s Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) days that I have only seen in pictures, old photographs, or even drawings.  The pennants in this specific post are not in my personal collection, but I’d obviously love to find!  They all range from roughly 1890-1927, before OAC became Oregon State College (OSC). Each is unique and I found them from number of sources, like the Benton County Historical Society, OSU’s Archives, old programs, or old online auctions.  Keep your eye out for others as I’d love to add more pennants (or even just pictures of them) to the collection and this site!



1962 Liberty Bowl Pin, Program and Ticket – Oregon State vs. Villanova

Oregon State was led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker when it faced a one loss Villanova Wildcat team in the 1962 Liberty Bowl, which was played on a frozen field in Philadelphia on December 15th.  Baker scored on a 99 yard quarterback keeper run to provide the only points of the game, with OSU winning 6-0, earning its first bowl victory since the 1942 Rose Bowl.  After starting 0-2, the Beavers capped the season with eight straight wins and Baker won the Heisman just weeks after his performance in the Liberty Bowl.  Here is a pinback, program, ticket stub, decal, and a picture of Terry Baker from the game!

Terry Baker


John Biancone Trophy from Oregon State College (1934)

Despite standing a mere 5 foot 6 inches tall and 165 pounds, John “Johnny” Biancone was a highly decorated quarterback  and halfback for the Oregon State College Beavers from 1931-1934.  This trophy, I’m assuming, was given to Biancone his senior year by Oregon State to commemorate his playing days at OSC.

John graduated from Portland’s Benson High School in 1930, where he lettered three times in five different sports.  He was a member of the 1928  City Championship Team, captain of a soccer team that was undefeated all four years, and he was also a State Wrestling Champion in 1929.  He is a member of the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame.

While at Oregon State, John lettered three years in football and baseball (back then they could not play on Varsity as a Freshman so they couldn’t earn letters for that year).  On the gridiron, John played both halfback and quarterback under coaches Paul Schissler and then Lon Stiner.  It appears he switched between HB and QB during games, depending on what was working.  A 1932 news article from a rival team city said John was “a dashing, tricky open field runner.”  While he played football during 1933, it doesn’t appear he was on the field during the Beavers famous “Ironmen” game, where only 11 players played every minute on both offense and defense in a 0-0 tie against a two time National Champion USC team that suited up 80 men for the game.  While I haven’t done the research, I’m assuming Biancone was injured for that game.

After college John spent one year in 1936 playing quarterback in the NFL for the Brooklyn Dodgers, where records indicate he played in 5 games (they played far fewer games back then).  The following preseason he broke his leg and was released by the Dodgers, ending up with the Paterson (NJ) Panthers of the American Association (more of a minor league team) for a couple years.

Fast forward to 1942, and Biancone, like many men his age, found himself in the Army stationed at the Santa Ana Army Air Base in California.  At this base, Captain Biancone was the manager of the its football and baseball teams.  It seems he was the Athletic Director for the entire base, which at the time, had many former college and pro athletes in the army stationed there.  The large army bases would put together athletic teams to compete against other military bases, college teams, and even professional teams.  Biancone’s 1943 baseball team compiled an impressive record, including a winning streak of 20 straight games behind the stellar hitting of their star centerfielder who you may have heard of… Joe DiMaggio!

This neat trophy stands about 7 inches tall and the football player and plaque are silver or silver plated.  Is I said, I presume this was given to Biancone by OSU at the end of his senior season, either because he was a team Captain, MVP, or they could have given these to all the seniors.  A cool piece of 80+ year old Oregon State history!

In the last picture below from 1932, John Biancone (far right) is standing next to his coach at OSU, Paul Schissler (center), and teammate Harold Moe (far left).



Forrest Smithson – OSU’s First Olympic Medalist in 1908

Forrest Smithson was born in Portland in 1884 and attended Oregon State (then OAC) where he was an AAU track champion in 1907 and 1909. While attending Oregon State, Smithson competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, where he won gold in the 110-meter hurdles on the final day with a then world record setting time of 15.0 seconds. He became not only the school’s first Olympic medalist, but he and two other Oregonians that same Olympics were the first medalists for the state of Oregon.

A devout Christian, Smithson was a student of theology at Oregon State who eventually become a Baptist Minister. He is probably best known for a famous picture of him clearing a hurdle at the Olympics with a bible in his left hand.  Many thought the picture was of the Olympic finals race, further depicting his legend. But no official accounts depicted him carrying such unlikely cargo and one actual picture of the finals does not show the Bible in his hand.  The story, as it turns out, was that Smithson posed for the picture after his victory to make a political protest against Sabbath competitions.  Smithson understood the powerful forum for social criticism that Olympic victories allowed.

The first picture is the famous Forrest Smithson Bible picture.  Second is a picture of the final race where he is second from the right. The final picture shows an actual gold medal from the 1908 Olympics that I’m sure Smithson kept in a safe place… probably right next to his Bible until his death in 1962.

olimpiaa[1] second from right 1908-medal[1]


Oregon State’s 1948-1949 Final Four Basketball Team

Oregon State’s 1948-1949 men’s basketball team is considered one of head coach Slatts Gill’s finest coaching performances, taking a team with only one returning starter from the previous year, all the way to a Pacific Coast Conference Championship and Oregon State’s first NCAA Final Four appearance.  After beating Arkansas to start the tournament and reach the Final Four, the Beavers lost to Oklahoma A&M and then to Illinois in the third place game to finish fourth overall.  The Beavers finished with a 24-12 record and wouldn’t reach the Final Four again until 1963… and they haven’t been back since!  This team picture and plaque was presented to OSC Assistant Coach, Paul Valenti, who later became the head coach of the Beavers.  Notice the round patches on the jackets to commemorate their conference championship, which you can see up close in the second picture.  Lastly, here is a picture of the program and ticket stub from that NCAA tournament, which was held at the University of Washington’s Edmundson Pavilion.

photo1948-1949 PCC Patch1949 Final Four Program1949 Ticket

In 1973 Steve Prefontaine raced in Corvallis… and lost???

I can’t remember exactly where I found this picture, but I do remember thinking it was pretty cool to see a picture of Steve Prefontaine running a race in Corvallis during college, and I also thought it was cool that the runner from OSU was actually leading the race!  I know this picture is from 1973, and if memory serves, this was the last race Prefontaine ever ran in Corvallis.  I originally couldn’t find any info about this picture, such as who the OSU runner was and what the result of the race was.  Then I found the picture on Flickr with some history behind it.

The date was May 5, 1973, and Bell Field on OSU’s campus (now where Dixon Rec Center is located) was the place for an Oregon-Oregon State dual meet with over 5,000 spectators in the stands.  The event was the 3-mile race, and Pre ended up winning with a time of 13:27, followed by his trailer mate Pat Tyson, and then the OSU runner you see in this picture, Jose Amaya, ended up finishing third… a mere 34 seconds behind Pre!  As a side note, some old Beaver faithful’s remember this race for a different reason! “The 3-mile event was marred when Oregon runner Randy James and OSU runner Randy Brown exchanged elbows off the turn. Then James came up behind Brown and pushed him off the track. Brown continued on with race while James walked off amid a chorus of boos from the OSU fans.”  Sounds like the Ducks were “classy” back in the day, just as most are now!

Track - 1974

Track – 1974

Wes Schulmerich – Oregon State’s First “Big Leaguer”

In 1923 Wesley “Wes” Schulmerich came to Oregon State (then OAC) as a decorated high school athlete from Columbia Prep school in Portland where he had been offered a scholarship by Knute Rockne to play for Notre Dame but he turned it down to play football, baseball, and run track for the Beavers.  The 5’11 200 pound “Ironhorse,” as he was nicknamed on the football field, was a man among boys on both the football and baseball fields.  Upon graduation in 1927, Schulmerich turned down a $100 signing bonus to play football in the NFL, deciding to play semi-pro baseball for the Clarks club in the Butte Mining League.  Schulmerich, a second baseman and leadoff hitter, was quickly noticed and moved up to the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels, just a step below the Major Leagues.  Wes dominated the PCL for the better part of his four PCL seasons and in 1931 he made his debut in the Major Leagues for the Boston Braves, making him the first player in Oregon State history to reach the Majors.  After four seasons in the Majors with three different teams, he spent another six or seven years playing in the minors and in other independent leagues, then he spent 1942-1945 as a lieutenant commander in the Navy during WWII. In his later years Wes was known for being an adamant OSU supporter, rarely missing a sporting event of any kind, until he died in 1985 at the age of 83.  Schulmerich is a member of both the OSU and Oregon Sports Hall of Fames.

The following pictures are of Wes during his playing days at Oregon State and playing in the Major Leagues for the Braves.  And lastly, these two bats were original bats used by Schulmerich during his Major League days and both have his name burned into the barrel! The first was made by the Hanna Batrite company in the early 1930’s and the second is a Spalding bat.  These two bats are a couple of my favorite pieces of OSU baseball history!

Schulmerich OAC 1928  Schulmerich Boston Braves  Baseball CardschulmerichSpalding 1935