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Oregon sports history

1958: Ducks return as heroes; Norm Van Brocklin retires; Portland gets grade-school girls basketball


Jan. 2, 1958

The Oregon Ducks return home as all but conquering heroes after playing Ohio State to a 10-7 game in the Rose Bowl to cap the 1957 season.

Pundits had predicted a Buckeyes victory of 19 to 40 points, and so Len Casanova's UO squad was receiving much good press for its performance in Pasadena, Calif.

Thousands of fans cheered their arrival at the Eugene airport, where Governor Robert Holmes shook each player's hand and a police escort took the team to a welcoming party at a downtown hotel.

Quarterback Jack Crabtree, named the game's MVP, gets an invitation to a big banquet hosted by the Touchdown Club in Columbus, Ohio, where sports greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Stan Musial, Rocky Marciano and Jack Dempsey will appear, as well.

 Also on Jan. 2, 1958, former Oregon QB Norm Van Brocklin announces his retirement from the NFL at age 31 after nine seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. Van Brocklin, who also has been the league's top punter, says he will go into private business with a pipeline coating company in Portland.

(Van Brocklin will be back, however, joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958 and leading them to the NFL championship in 1960, leading a fourth-quarter comeback that beats Green Bay 17-13.)

 And, in one small note to the sports day of Jan. 2, 1958 — the Portland Bureau of Parks' recreation division announces that it is forming a basketball league … for 7th- and 8th-grade girls.