Madison baseball celebrates rich tradition with all-generations reunion

“Vince Pesky, Please Stand Up…”

Few sports programs in Oregon can match the rich tradition of Madison baseball, and the Senators celebrated that history on Sunday, June 9, with an all‐generations’ reunion at Madison High School in Northeast Portland.

Organizers billed the afternoon as "a reunion for all youth coaches, all high school coaches, all players that participated in our Little League, Babe Ruth and high school programs, and all fans to celebrate the best baseball tradition in the state of Oregon and connect Madison’s past and present.”

“I read about the event in John Canzano’s column the day before… I thought Vince Pesky would love to attend the event. I contacted Vince. He loved the idea. I packed his wheelchair into the trunk of my car and off we went,” says Mark, who would like to extend a special thanks to the great staff at Regency Park for getting Vince ready on such short notice.

The event started with a ceremony in the gymnasium where past coaches spoke. Photographs going all the way back to the 1950s were presented.

During introductory remarks, Coach Wiitala said, “Before I go any further, I want to introduce a special guest, Vince Pesky.” Coach Wiitala explained how Vince was a coach, administrator, and teacher in Portland Public Schools for many years.

Mark recalls, “Vince stood up. The audience gave him a long, standing ovation. I cried. After his remarks, Coach Wiitala came over, hugged Vince, and they had a short conversation. I cried again.” 

The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Contractors team from Madison winning the 1969 American Legion World Series in Nebraska. 
Facebook Posts:

Mike Minsker ... I never graduated High School but Mr Pesky made the effort. How many Vice Principals would come to your house trying to get you to come back to school? I never knew this, but Vince never married or had kids of his own. He spent his 38 years at Marshall High School being a Dad to all of us throughout the years.
Tom Mitchell ...  Vinny was my go-to guy when Dean Miller was chasing me through the halls I would just run into Vinnie’s office, like all he is the reason I graduated Marshall. Thanks, Mr Pesky.

Daniel Burke Wedin ... Vince used to come into Zenner's for sausage. We were talking food one day and the topic of Rosemary came up. Next visit he brought me a huge bag of the herb, fresh cut. Prince of a fellow.

Wally Fluge l ... I sat in the “Pesky pew” one Sunday morning at St Pats not knowing it was their pew and he was right behind me sitting there smiling and welcoming me to “his church”. Felt like an intruder but he assured me I was more than welcome-such a guy!

Mike Benner ...  I miss our conversations at Multnomah Stadium, Vince.

Gina Goen ...  It was my Senior year. I was on the Varsity Basketball Cheer Squad. I was cornered by a gang of kids in the middle of the staircase. A knife was pulled on me by a girl that wanted to “mess this cheerleader’s face up” I started screaming for help and my “HERO MR. PESKY” Was able to put a stop to it before I was hurt. Mr. Pesky, I love you for truly caring for me. You were a DAD, MENTOR, FRIEND AND MY PERSONAL HERO! Nothing but LOVE and RESPECT for this man!

Beth Ketelson Vuylsteke ...  When I was a freshman, I had infection in both feet and a red streak started going up my leg. Somehow Mr. Pesky found out and I was in his room everyday with bags around both feet with hot water and something he put in each bag. I had to go until they were cured. If not for Mr. Pesky who knows what would have happened to me. My dad passed when I was 14, Mr. Pesky took over.

Tony Clifford ... Mister Pesky was the best administrator I've ever seen. Full of wisdom, love and compassion. They just don't make them like him anymore!

Mick Lasko ...  Absolutely Love Mr Pesky... he would loan me money for gas... I always paid him back...That Man TRULY cared for ALL OF US...I’m a better person by his influence.

Canzano: Tradition? Heard of it? This column is about something club sports has lost

Madison baseball celebrates rich tradition with all-generations reunion

Mark O'Donnell
O'Donnell Law Firm LLC
 One Centerpointe Drive, Suite 505
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035
Phone: 503-274-1155  
Fax: 503-306-0257