Arrival of Hillsboro Hops sparks interest in baseball mementos

The Washington County Museum will celebrate the start of the Hillsboro Hops' first season with a special exhibition on the history of baseball in the county, including players who moved up to major league teams.

The exhibition will open in the Hillsboro Civic Center on June 19, just two days after the opening home game in the new baseball stadium currently under construction at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex. The first ball thrown during the game will be donated to the museum, where a display case is already being prepared. Two Hops players and General Manager K.L. Wombacher will be at the opening, where two team jerseys will be dedicated.

“Historically, baseball is a game that brought the county together when cities were mostly farm-based and farther apart. The exhibition will go full circle from the earliest teams to the most famous players, to the Hillsboro Hops and the new stadium,” explained Marsha Matthews. Matthews, a consultant working on the Hops exhibit, was formerly with the Oregon Historical Society.

To help support the exhibition, the museum is looking to borrow baseball memorabilia associated with a number of local players who became nationally known. They include: Larry Jansen, who was born in Verboort and played for the New York Giants and Cincinnati Redlegs; Vern Olsen, who was born in Hillsboro and played for the Chicago Cubs; Wes Schulmerick, who was born in Hillsboro and played for the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds; and Benjamin Petrick, who attended Glencoe High School, played for the Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers and is now a consultant for the Hops.

Other players of interest are Jacob Ellsbury, who was born in Madras and plays for the Boston Red Sox; Johnny Pesky, who was born in Portland and played for the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Washington Senators; and Scott Brosius, who was born in Hillsboro and played for the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees and is now head baseball coach at Linfield College.

Matthews said memorabilia from teams that have played in the county in the past will also be considered. Previous amateur and professional teams include the Cardinals, the Grays, the Diamond Ws and the Merchants.

According to museum representatives, baseball is believed to have developed from an older game called "rounders" that was played in Great Britain and Ireland. It became an extremely popular sport in America during and just after the Civil War, and has continued to evolve with various recreational and professional leagues, such as the 58-year-old Single-A Northwest League, which includes the Hops.

If you have any items to loan to the exhibition, please call Matthews at 503-239-7740, or Karen Lange at the museum at 503-645-5353.

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