History of Bartlesville & Washington County, Oklahoma

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Bartlesville Sports History

Basketball

In 1920 Phillips Petroleum began its sponsorship of the 66ers basketball team which accumulated a 1,543 to 271 record, won two Olympic Trial championships, captured 11 Amateur Athletic Union crowns, produced 39 AAU All-Americans and yielded four company presidents - Boots Adams, Paul Endacott, Bill Martin, and Pete Silas. The field house at College High in Bartlesville was paid for by the Phillips Foundation and provided a home for the team until the Adams Building gym was built downtown. The team disbanded in 1968 because of increased competition from professional teams. Four former 66ers made the Sports Illustrated '50 from 50' list from various states: Bob Kurland from Missouri, Burdy Halderson from Minnesota, Chuck Darling from Colorado, and Gary Thompson from Iowa.

In addition to that recognition, Bob Kurland was named to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. He was an All-American player at Oklahoma State University in 1945-47 when the team won two national championships and compiled a 99-22 record. Kurland set a school record with 1,699 points between 1942 and 1946, and scored 58 points in a single game. One of the game's first 7-footers, Kurland was the reason the NCAA adopted its goal-tending rule in 1944. Bypassing the National Basketball Association, Kurland joined the Phillip 66ers of the Amateur Athletic Union after college. In 1946-47 and 1947-48 the 66ers compiled a 114-4 record. In 1948 and 1952 Kurland played with the US Olympic teams, both of which won gold medals.


Baseball

Bartlesville has been a baseball town since its first team, the Brickbats, formed in 1895. The early-day teams had a community ballpark with a roofed grandstand for 500 spectators at what was the south end of the city near Johnstone Avenue and 11th Street. That park was quickly abandoned for a new stadium just south of there, which hosted 53 home games for the Bartlesville Grays. In 1907 the city purchased land just north of the city limits from William Johnstone - the site of present-day Doenges Stadium. The wooden grandstand would be replaced by today's 2,600 seat roofed concrete facility via a $42,000 bond issue in 1930. It was dedicated as Municipal Athletic Field on May 2, 1932, and besides baseball games has hosted parades, rodeos, celebrations, and revivals. It even served as the high school football field until Custer Field was built in the early 1950s at College High School. Originally its outfield fence was exactly 340 feet from home plate in a symmetrical arc, the only professional ballpark in the world with an equal distance to the fence in fair territory. Today home plate has been moved and the field is no longer fully symmetrical. In 1997 the community began more than $1,000,000 in stadium improvements using both public and private monies and the arena was renamed Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium, recognizing his dedication to community baseball. The stadium received new field lights, roof, metal bleachers, and chair-back seats with 2007 bringing large ceiling fans in the grandstand and remodeled concessions. In 2002 the city hosted the National Baseball Congress World Series Tournament, and in 2003 and 2007 it hosted the American Legion World Series.

  • In 1906 Bartlesville joined with eight Kansas towns in the Kansas State League which had formed the prior year.
  • In 1907 the Oklahoma-Arkansas-Kansas League formed, including Bartlesville and three other Oklahoma cities as well as two Kansas, one Arkansas, and one Missouri town.
  • That league folded after one year, and in 1908 Bartlesville joined with three other towns to form the short-lived Oklahoma-Kansas League. The Milwaukee team of the American Association arrived in Bartlesville for spring training that year.
  • Bartlesville joined the Western Association, which had formed back in 1905, for the 1909 and 1910 seasons. Bartlesville would participate again in this league in 1924, 1931-32, and 1934-38.
  • From 1921-23, Bartlesville was part of the Southwestern League.
  • Phillips Petroleum sponsored semi-pro baseball in the 1920s.
  • Bartlesville briefly joined the large Western League in 1933.
  • Bartlesville was part of the K.O.M. League from 1946-1952. Teams included the Bartlesville Oilers, Bucs, and Pirates. 28 players from the K.O.M. league went on to the major leagues, including Oklahoma's own Mickey Mantle, who played at Municipal Stadium during his days with the Independence, Kansas Yankees.
  • The American Legion has sponsored statewide summer baseball for young people for over sixty years. Bartlesville's program began in 1937 with the team using Municipal Stadium when the Bartlesville Bucs were away. An early name for the Legion team was the "Philnines" but after local car dealer William C. "Bill" Doenges began sponsoring it in 1942, the team was called the "Engines". This was later changed to the "Injuns" in some punny wordplay. The Doenges Ford Injuns captured the Class A state championship in 1969 and went to the Legion World Series with a 48-13 season record. The Injuns won the Majors championship in 1976 and 1978. From 1964 to 2001, the Injuns had a combined 1506 to 621 won-loss record, with 37 straight winning seasons, 30 district championships, 9 zone titles, three state banners, and one national regional championship. The team's sponsorship is the longest continuous single sponsorship of any American Legion team in the nation.
  • In 2002 Bartlesville had the 18-and-under AAAA Doenges Ford Injuns, the 17-and-under AAA Examiner-Enterprise Braves, and the AA 16-and-under United Linen Warriors. In June 2005 the Injuns were renamed the Doenges Ford Indians out of respect for Native American sensibilities.

Boxing

  • Washington County enjoyed the publicity of having prize-fighter Arlos Fanning, who trained in Bartlesville, fight worldwide as a featherweight and a lightweight from 1910 to 1922.

Swimming

  • Bartlesville/College High School has completely dominated the state swimming arena since 1948. As of spring 2000 it has won 34 boys or girls swimming state championships since its first boys title that year. The boys teams have won 20 crowns, twice the number of the closest rival, Norman.

Bartlesville High School

See online high school sports history for Bartlesville High School, College High School, and Sooner High School. Also see Douglass and Central history websites for some photographs.

High School Sports State Championships, 1957-2007

Wildcats
    College High Wildcats
  • 1957: Golf - Boys Four Ball Grass Greens
  • 1962: Swimming - Boys
  • 1963: Golf - Boys Two Ball AA & Four Ball AA
  • 1963: Swimming - Boys
  • 1964: Swimming - Boys
  • 1965: Swimming - Boys
  • 1966: Swimming - Boys
  • 1966: Swimming - Girls
  • 1967: Basketball - Boys Class AAA
  • 1967: Swimming - Boys
  • 1967: Swimming - Girls
  • 1968: Swimming - Boys
  • 1968: Swimming - Girls
  • 1969: Swimming - Boys
  • 1969: Baseball - Spring Class AAA
  • 1970: Swimming - Boys
  • 1971: Swimming - Boys
  • 1972: Golf - Boys 4-Ball Class AAAA
  • 1974: Golf - Boys AAAA
  • 1976: Golf - Boys
  • 1977: Golf - Boys
  • 1978: Tennis - Boys Class AAA
  • 1979: Tennis - Boys Class AAA
  • 1979: Golf - Boys AAA
  • 1980: Baseball - Spring Class AAA
  • 1982: Tennis - Class AA
  • 1982: Swimming - Girls
  • 1983: Swimming - Girls
Spartans
    Sooner High School Spartans
  • 1971: Golf - Boys Four Ball Class AAAA
  • 1978: Golf - Boys Class AAA
  • 1980: Softball - Girls Fast Pitch Class AAA
Bruins
    Bartlesville High School Bruins
  • 1982: Softball - Girls Fast Pitch Class AAA
  • 1983: Swimming - Girls
  • 1984: Golf - Boys AAAA
  • 1984: Softball - Girls Fast Pitch Class AAA
  • 1984: Swimming - Boys
  • 1984: Swimming - Girls
  • 1985: Baseball - Boys AAAAA
  • 1985: Swimming - Girls
  • 1986: Swimming - Boys
  • 1986: Swimming - Girls
  • 1987: Gymnastics - Girls
  • 1987: Swimming - Girls
  • 1988: Golf - Boys AAAAA
  • 1988: Gymnastics - Boys
  • 1988: Gymnastics - Girls
  • 1988: Swimming - Boys
  • 1988: Swimming - Girls
  • 1989: Basketball - Boys AAAAA
  • 1989: Gymnastics - Girls
  • 1989: Swimming - Boys
  • 1989: Swimming - Girls
  • 1990: Swimming - Boys
  • 1991: Basketball - Boys AAAAA
  • 1991: Cross-Country - Girls AAAAA
  • 1992: Basketball - Boys AAAAA
  • 1993: Cross-Country - Girls AAAAA
  • 1995: Swimming - Girls
  • 1996: Swimming - Girls
  • 1997: Swimming - Girls