Community > Sports
The first group of Volga German immigrants arriving in Portland from Russia had no background or experience with organized sports. The following generations born in the Portland area soon became involved and found success in a wide variety of athletic activities.
"Many local softball teams such as M&M Woodworking, Raven Creamery, Nicolai Sash and Door, Rotary Bread, and the Wooden Shoe Tavern were 90 percent filled with German-Russian boys and cornered many championships in the 1930's and early 1940's. Star players included the Helser and Hergert brothers, Red Gette, Karlie Miller, and Red Melcher." - Dr. Raymond P. Koch
The list below includes successful athletes from the Portland area with Volga German ancestry. Click on the links below for a brief profile of each individual.
The Wooden Shoe Tavern softball team. This photograph was taken in Irving Park with the Zion German Congregational Church appearing in the background. Front row, far right is Sammy Aschenbrenner. Front row, second from the right is Ed Miller. Front row, second from the left is Solly Hergert. Front row, far left is possibly Benny Miller. Back row, far left is Heinie Miller.
Written on the back on the wooden frame: "Sabin School Quintet - Champion for 1934 - Hergert (Right Forward), Derr (Left Forward) F, Weitzel (Center), Smith (Guard), Stang (Guard). Henry Smith is in the back row on the far left seated next to the teacher/coach. Back row, center, is Ray Weitzel. Back row, far right is Ruben Derr. Courtesy of Tracie Williams.
Last updated January 15, 2023