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Home arrow Sports arrow Oregon honors Claude Hines

Oregon honors Claude Hines

Claude Hines took a break from wood chopping at his home in Baker City. Before he died in 1985 at the age of 76, he probably never dreamed he would be inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. (Baker City Herald file photo/S. John Collins).
Claude Hines took a break from wood chopping at his home in Baker City. Before he died in 1985 at the age of 76, he probably never dreamed he would be inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. (Baker City Herald file photo/S. John Collins).

By GERRY STEELE

Of the Baker City Herald

Pat Guymon remembers what it was like to know Claudie Hines.

It hurt.

Guymon, who was a third grader in 1939 when Hines, then 30, was his flag football coach, recalls the cost of misbehaving around Hines was a "horse bite."

Hines, who had been a high school and college football standout, would close his big hand around the back of a kid's thigh and pinch, a deterrent enough to stick in the memories of grown men decades later, Guymon said.

"He was a disciplinarian," he said. "But I never heard anyone say anything bad about the guy. People just always liked him. You knew what was expected of you."

Guymon was pleased to hear that Hines will be inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on Oct. 14.

Hines was the first African-American student athlete at Baker High School and Southern Oregon University, and one of only two black athletes to play at an Oregon University before World War II.

Later in life, he was a mentor and coach to Baker City children at the YMCA, where he lived for a time.

Hines died in 1985 at the age of 76.

Guymon first attempted to get Hines nominated for the Hall about five years ago. But Hines didn't garner enough votes to be inducted into the state Hall of Fame.

He was nominated this time by Herman Brame, a University of Oregon track and field athlete in the 1970s.

Jack Elder, Hall of Fame director of development, said Brame's nomination of Hines was considered and approved by the Hall of Fame Veteran's Committee. The committee, reinstituted this year, has the ability to approve nominations that aren't approved by a vote of the general membership.

"I think it's great. It's been a long time coming," Guymon said. "It was a co-operative effort to get Claudie in the Hall," he said, referring to repeated efforts by Baker City and Southern Oregon residents to secure Hines a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Hines and the six other successful nominees will be inducted Oct. 14 at a ceremony at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland. Elder said the induction ceremony also will be shown at a later time on television.

After induction, Hines's name, accomplishments and honors will be chronicled along side almost 300 other athletes, teams and coaches at the Hall of Fame, located in Portland.

"We have one of the more diverse Halls of Fame," Elder said. It includes athletes from dozens of different sports.

It's that diversity that sparked Guymon's interest.

He said he first thought Hines should be inducted as he rushed through the Portland airport to meet his son's plane.

Rushing to get to his son's terminal, Guymon ran through a display of the Oregon Sport's Hall of Fame that lined the concourse.

Passing through the portraits of Danny Ainge, Steve Prefontaine, Dan Fouts and other Oregon sports legends, he realized Hines, his childhood flag football coach, deserved to be in the Hall as well.

"I thought, ‘Why isn't Claudie in there too?'" Guymon said.

Hines in BHS Hall of Fame

Hines, who was raised in Baker City by his grandmother Malinda Tebeau, lettered four years each in football, basketball and baseball at Baker High School. As a sophomore, he was named most valuable player on a football team that went undefeated, and he played in the state basketball tournament.

Today, his name is one of two on a plaque at the Baker football stadium. Baker High renamed the stadium Bulldog Memorial Stadium and the plaque was added to the grandstand on Sept. 13, 1985. On the plaque is Hines' name along with that of Herman Steiger, a long-time booster for the Bulldogs.

Hines' love for sport started at an early age. His first job, at age 13, was as stadium announcer for Baker's community baseball team. He stood in the stands with a megaphone and shouted out lineups and plays. He loved to play basketball, football and baseball.

Hines went on to play all three sports for Baker, but he also earned respect in the classroom as well as the playing field. He was voted president of his senior class in 1928 and his combination of athletic talents and scholastic work got him into college in Ashland.

Hines honored at SOU

Hines was inducted into the Southern Oregon University Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

At Southern Oregon he lettered in basketball, baseball, track and football. He was named honorary captain of the football team his junior year, and his senior year he was a captain. Hines played both ways on the gridiron, at defensive end and halfback, and was known for his speed at both positions.

Hines didn't graduate from Southern Oregon. He would have liked to become a teacher, but he later told friends a teaching certificate seemed useless, since no one in Oregon in those days would hire a black teacher.

Serving in the military

After college, Hines volunteered to serve in the military as a technician in an all-black unit with the U.S. Army in World War II.

Hines was done with his own athletic career after college. But when he came back to Baker City after the war, he helped young people start athletic careers of their own.

"He was probably the greatest developer of young athletes in Baker," Doug Smurthwaite, who was instructed by Hines at the Y, said in 2000.

Hines' athletic accomplishments were balanced by his personality, which most who knew him described as being caring, humble and unselfish.

Hines died April 9, 1985, at age 76. There is a memorial at Mount Hope Cemetery, a flat stone with Hines' name, his rank, the date of his death and the date of his birth (Feb. 14, 1909).

While he never married, Hines was involved with the lives of many children through his work as a recreation director at the Y.

Hines even lived at the Y for a period of his life. After he got a job at Ellingson's Timber Company, he bought a house and moved out of the Y. Even after shifts at the mill he would take time to help kids learn about sports.

A number of these athletes went on to have collegiate athletic success of their own. These include Dick Vallentyne and Tommy Holman, who went on to play basketball at Oregon State University, and Paul Sowers who played on the University of Oregon basketball squad.

Second Bulldog named to Hall

Hines will become the second former Baker High School athlete inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Bobb McKittrick, former BHS standout, was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 19, 2000.

McKittrick, who died of cancer on March 15, 2000, also was a standout football player at Oregon State University, and served 21 years as offensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League.

About the Hall of Fame

The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is located at 321 SW Salmon, Portland 97204.

The Hall is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is family $10, adults $4 and students/seniors $3. Kids under age 5 are admitted free.

 
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