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John Hart
[1964]

School: Washington

Sports Played: Basketball, Baseball

High School Honors: 1 Basketball letter, on PIL Co-Champion Team.

3 Baseball letters, 1st Team All-PIL pitcher as a Senior, led league in strike-outs at 115; co-MVP on team. Named outstanding pitcher in State All-Star Game.

Post High School Career: On Watco team coached by Jack Dunn that won the city American Legion Title in 1964. 4 Baseball letters at Linfield College. Winning pitcher of Linfield's final game of the 1966 National NAIA Championship; team has been inducted into the Linfield, Oregon Baseball, and Oregon Sports Halls of Fame. Bachelor's Degree from Linfield, PhD. from the University of Southern California in Clinical Social Work. Currently Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Victoria School of Child and Youth Care and an "Artisan of Mauna Kea Hotel" on the Big Island of Hawaii. Author of "Murder on the Mekong" mystery thriller series.

Commentary:

The great American poet Donald Hall loved baseball. ("In the country of baseball," Mr. Hall wrote, "time is the air we breathe, and the wind swirls us backward and forward, until we seem so reckoned in time and seasons that all time and all seasons become the same.")

I understand and experience every new Spring what he writes in that poem and yet two seasons shine for me in my memory and my life was never the same after those golden seasons of 64 and 66. In 1964 I played on a Watco "dream team." We were American Legion city champs and Jack Dunn was the coach. Whenever I see Field of Dreams or read about Boys of Summer I think of that summer of '64 and that team and those team mates.

In 1966 I played on the Linfield College baseball team that won the first Oregon collegiate baseball National Championship. I pitched the Championship Game all nine innings. My coach, the great Roy Helser came out to the mound in the first inning. I was wild and pumped with adrenaline and knew it was all over. But like all great coaches who help turn boys into men, he did not take the ball away, he took the ball and slowed everything down and looked at me and said "You will never have a chance like this again, I am giving you another chance" and he handed the ball back and left the mound.

That was Coach Helser's only Championship game. He really wanted to win, he was a very tough competitor. He did not take me out. He believed in me...I believed. I shut them out the rest of the game. Later in life, after a war and I was a doctor teaching young doctors about how to to be able to work with severely abused children and adolescents I would tell that story of just giving someone one more chance and believing in them. My deepest gratitude to Paul Poetsch, Mike Doherty, Jack Dunn, and Roy Helser for all the chances you gave me and believing.

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