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Blast from the past

Estacadas Ryan Carpenter digs into the history of Estacada baseball


Ever since he has been in town, Estacada baseball coach Ryan Carpenter has been fascinated with the history of the program he's now in charge of. As a history major from Eastern Oregon, the connection makes sense, and when Carpenter got in touch with Champ Vaughan Jr. recently, the match was perfect.

Just by browsing through Estacada baseball history that Carpenter has resurrected on the website at erangerbaseball.com, you can find a coaching history dating back to 1923, pictures from the 1924 Big 9 league championship team and a series of stories straight out of history books.

With all this said, when Carpenter heard from Champ Vaughan Jr., his eyes must have lit up. Vaughan was the son of Champ C. Vaughan, the Estacada baseball coach from 1939-1944, and happened to be a historian himself.

Vaughan Jr. brought Carpenter a couple of photographs that matched up with the 1944 yearbook and was able to tell Carpenter all about his dad.

Born in 1904 in Molalla, Champ C. Vaughan attended Molalla Union High School from 1919-1923, where he played football, basketball and baseball and was the captain in all three.

He earned an athletic scholarship to Columbia University (now University of Portland) and then earned an athletic scholarship to Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, Vaughan had the privilege of playing under legendary coach Knute Rockne in football but was most noted for his play as catcher of the baseball team.

In 1927, he graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in education and moved back to play catcher for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League (minor league). After his time as a minor league baseball player, he became the football, basketball and baseball coach at Columbia Prep High School in Portland and also received a master's degree in education from Oregon State University.

In May 1929, Vaughan met his future wife, May Corcoran, and they went on to have three children, Jean (1930), William (1932) and Champ Jr. (1937).

In September 1929, the family moved to Butte, Mont., where Champ was the football, basketball and baseball coach as well as the athletic director for five years.

From Montana he took a similar job in Chicago for five years before returning to his beloved Oregon in September 1939 with a job at Estacada Union High School.

While in Estacada, Vaughan did it all. Not only did he coach the varsity football, baseball, basketball and tennis teams, he was in charge of the junior varsity basketball team as well.

During summers, because he was too old to be drafted into the war, he worked at the Swan Island shipyards building liberty ships.

In 1944, Vaughan applied for the position of principal and was unsuccessful. Frustrated with his inability to move up, he left his position at Estacada, moved back to Portland and began a career as a credit manager for Dwyer Lumber.

Vaughan retired from Dwyer in 1970 and died in 1986 at the age of 81.

Aside from his coaching duties in Estacada, Vaughan taught mathematics and socio-economics. When he took the job, an unknown local newspaper ran an article about him that included this information: "Mr. Vaughn is married and has three children: Jean, who is 9 years old, and two future members of the Estacada football squad, Billy age 7, and Champie, a little over 2.

"Many people have been wondering if ‘Champ' is really Mr. Vaughan's name or just a nickname. It's a real name since he was named after Champ Clark, onetime speaker of the House of Representatives."

Champ Jr. came across the Estacada website by accident as he was searching his own name online and found the website with his dad's name. After perusing through the history, he sent Carpenter a note with a couple corrections and left his contact information should he have more questions.

Whether by accident or not, Carpenter and the Rangers have a little more information about one more piece of their history.