Most histories of Portland’s PGE Park, like this official history at PGEPark.com, focus on the legacy of baseball, and generally don’t include soccer in the list of athletic activities hosted at the location in its early days. The early days start in 1893 when the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club (now the MAC – Amateur was dropped) leased the present site and dubbed it Multnomah Field.
Andrew Guest uncovered some of the soccer history in his excellent article on the New Portland Stadium with Old Soccer History in April, including that in 1905, during the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, Multnomah Field hosted a Pacific Coast Championship of soccer; what could be described as a precursor to the Cascadia Cup.
But was that the first time soccer was played at Multnomah Field?
After spending a day digging around in the Oregonian archives, I found reference to what may be the first soccer game ever played at Multnomah Field, which eventually became Multnomah Stadium, then Civic Stadium, and is now known as PGE Park.
From page 3 of the The Morning Oregonian, Saturday, October 21st, 1893:
The third game between the Astoria and Portland football association teams will be played on Multnomah field this afternoon, commencing at 3 o’clock. There is a marked difference between association and university or Rugby football. The latter is the more commonly played in the country, though in the former science is brought into play more than actual strength, the foot being used to carry the ball, instead of the hand. The only exception to this rule is the goal-keeper, who is permitted to handle the ball.
Read the entire article below. It’s definitely soccer that is described. (The following day’s Sunday Oregonian reveals that the Portland team beat Astoria 5 to 0, and that attendance was very good, and a great deal of interest was expressed, especially by the crowd of Astorians who came up to back their team.)
Eric Berg says
Great find. Thanks.
Most people assume the Park’s ‘J’ shape was built for baseball. MAC ran out of money in the 20s before finishing the ‘U.’ Baseball was an afterthought. The Bevos played in Vaughn Street Stadium until 1956.
Fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to dig this up.
Very cool find! Looks like MultCoLib’s Oregonian archives are paying off! Does anyone know of the first game of baseball at Piggie?
Eric, Devlyn – The first professional baseball game at Multnomah Field was years later, and the Beavs as you know played over at Vaughn. No doubt some of the earlier amateur events included baseball however.
Ryan – Thanks for reading! I’m hoping to spend more time digging through the Oregonian archives; lots of good stuff!
Dave – I’ve spent countless hours digging through those online archives. You’ll see the results on April 14 (if not before).
Obi – I’m looking forward to it! Lots of good stuff in them thar archives 😉
This is a great find. The beautiful game was definitely played in Oregon more than 100 years ago. And this article illustrates that. Clearly the explanatory language suggests that the author believed readers weren’t familiar with soccer. And notable as well is that there is a player named Cameron on the Portland side. I suspect that would be the future Judge Cameron who created the Cameron Cup, recently rediscovered.