The Price of Admission

1964 – Around the World and Close to Home

Nelson Mandela, convicted on charges of sabotage, is sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa, China detonates an atomic bomb, and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution escalates U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Sidney Poitier becomes the first Black winner of an Academy Award, Cassius Clay beats Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing title, and John Wooden guides UCLA to its first NCAA basketball championship. A referendum to end racial discrimination in home sales is defeated by Seattle voters, soon after Beatlemania sweeps America, the Fab Four plays to a packed Seattle Center Coliseum, and while Lyndon Johnson wins the presidency in a Democratic landslide, Republican Dan Evans defeats two-term incumbent Albert Rosellini for Washington governor.

The Price of Admission

When Balint Ducz took his juggernaut Seattle Hungarians from the state league up to the British Columbia’s Pacific Coast League in 1962, it was a gamble. Despite the meteoric rise of the Hungarians and growing crowds to watch them at Lower Woodland, taking them to the next level was far from a sure success.

While the Hungarians had run roughshod over their Washington opposition for two years and many raved about their attractive, continental style, the British Columbia-based PCL, considered perhaps Canada’s premier regional league at the time, would require further investment for both Ducz and spectators.

He would need to acquire more players and pay them, and Ducz’s expectation was that spectators would gladly pay for the privilege of watching his product play the skilled and cohesive B.C. sides. After two years, the experiment, a Washington’s club’s first modern venture into regional semipro competition, came up short on both counts, yet not for lack of effort. Ducz searched far beyond the state to secure proven veterans such as Zoltan Mako, Tommy Major and Karmen Koteles. However, the big-time bakery owner was unable to find a suitable stage to display his collection. Lower Woodland was not enclosed, and Memorial Stadium was too large and the rent too high. Eventually, Ducz settled on White Center Stadium. There was covered seating and admission gates, but it was primarily a baseball park. And for the crowds at Woodland Park, it would mean a circuitous, 12-mile journey south of the city.

Had the Hungarians bolted out of the blocks to begin their PCL venture, maybe the fans would’ve followed. Instead, in the fall of 1962, they stumbled mightily, salvaging just one draw in the first 10 matches. Accustomed to putting a few coins into Eddie Craggs’s wooden donation box for state league doubleheaders, spectators paid a $1 admission (kids under 15 were free) to see the Hungarians.

Two chartered buses and, altogether, some 200 fans followed the Magyars to the first road game in Vancouver. Unfortunately, the home crowds were not much bigger. In fact, they were just a fraction of attendances in Victoria (1,000) and Vancouver (2,300). Ducz dealt with much more overhead than his Canadian counterparts ferries or charter buses and hotel stays were a staple of every single road game.

A strong second half (5-2-3) lifted the Hungarians from the PCL basement to a tie for sixth in the first season. Any momentum was lost by stumbling (1-3-4) to start 1963-64. Halfway through, home games were moved to West Seattle Stadium, although to little effect.

Deep in the red and 11 games under .500, Ducz didn’t want to back away from a challenge, but in spring of 1964 he alerted the Washington State Football Association that the Hungarians were returning to the state league that fall (he also informed the PCL that they might someday return, if a suitable home venue could be found). They would dominate play for the next five years, and to satiate their competitive desires, Ducz would make the Hungarians the state’s first entrant in the U.S. Challenge Cup.

Seattle Hungarians
4-9-7, 5th PCL
Northwest Champion
Buchan Bakers
State Men's Champion
Buchan Bakers
State Knockout Cup

1964: The Price of Admission

Two years after joining British Columbia's Pacific League, the Seattle Hungarians withdraw and return to the state league after so-so finishes and paltry attendance.

Germania Wins Knockout Final
April 5, 1964

Behind two goals each from Bert Lerch and Roy Stopsack, Germania resoundingly wins the Knockout Cup final, 6-2, over second division Tacoma at West Seattle. Heinz Ritter and and Rich Muller also score for the victors while Les Forjacs and Clay Buffalo tally for Tacoma.

Hungarians Finally Win Away
March 1, 1964

Seattle Hungarians finally find some points in Pacific Coast League play, and it comes on the road with a 3-1 win over the Westminster Royals. It snaps a six-match losing streak for the Hungarians, whose last win came Nov. 10, 1963. Beginning with this game, the Magyars go 2-0-2 in the final four games to finish fifth in the PCL. Balint Ducz signed Peter Heriez, formerly of Rapid Vienna, and Dave Clayton of England's Luton Town for the stretch run.

B.C. Teams Dominate Five-a-Side
April 12, 1964

Lots of promotional buzz precedes the kickoff of the 21st annual Five-a-Side. Thousands of balloons, some with tickets attached, are released from atop the Space Needle and bagpipers provide the soundtrack to a day full of games at West Seattle Stadium. B.C. Sugar, among the 20 Canadian entries, defeats Vancouver's Sapparton Labatts, 0-0 (1-0), via the corner kick tiebreaker. The Sugars allow only one goal in five games. All four semifinalists are from British Columbia. Kamloops traveled nearly 300 miles only to lose its opener, versus Germania.

Hungarians Wrap-Up First Half on Run
December 13, 1964

The Seattle Hungarians win their 11th in a row across all competitions, 3-1, at Fort Lewis, to wrap up the state league's first half. The Magyars leave it late, getting goals from Tommy Major (penalty kick) and Alex Bogdan in the final 25 minutes. Fernando Espina puts the Soldiers in front after five minutes, and Les Mueller responds in the 32nd. The Hungarians, in their first season back after leaving the PCL, finish the first half at 11-1-0, with the Loyal Realty Vikings next at 9-2-1.

Fort Lewis Starts on Offensive
October 18, 1964

Fort Lewis, the newest entry in the state league first division, continues its strong start by beating Buchan, 3-2, at White Center. Norbert Grille, a Frenchman recruited from Honolulu, goes to the top of the scoring race with a brace against the Bakers. Grille's header with 15 minutes remaining is the difference and takes the Soldiers to 4-1-0 and a league-high 20 goals scored. They and the Hungarians trail Loyal Realty but have a game in hand on the Vikings. George Goers, one of the original Bakers dating to the Fremont Boys Club days, scores twice.

Vikings Hang 10 on Holland America
February 23, 1964

Matti Niemela busts loose for six goals in Loyal Realty's 10-1 sinking of winless Holland America at Lower Woodland. The Finnish-born Niemela gets support from Reidar Olsen's brace as the Vikings stay within a point of Buchan.

Hungarians Awarded Forfeit in Challenge Cup
December 31, 1964

Seattle Hungarians are awarded a forfeit over San Francisco Vikings after the Californians refuse to travel north for the Jan. 10 second round National Challenge Cup match.

KCTS Airs Instructional Special
September 14, 1964

Seattle's KCTS Channel 9 airs a 30-minute instructional program, "How to Play Soccer," with Derek Mallinson as host. Mallinson, 39 and former professional footballer in England, is the president of Lake Hills SC, and he includes a history of the game dating 112 A.D. in China, to modern game evolving in England in 1863 to contemporary times and skills, including goalkeeping. Repeat showings air three more times in the fall. Soccer also gets some air time on local newscasts, with KING's Rod Belcher narrating highlights from a Hungarians' state league contest.

Huskies Defeat Victoria
November 14, 1964

Thor Mjoen scores two goals to lead Washington over Victoria at Lower Woodland. It's the Huskies' fifth win in six starts. Mjoen, a Norwegian member of the UW ski team, nets his fourth and fifth goals. Onye Akwari and Michael Runnestadt also score.

Bakers Keep Bragging Rights in Washington
April 26, 1964

Northwest bragging rights stay north of the Columbia for another year as the Buchan Bakers defeat Portland's Royal Arabians, 4-1, in the rain at Delta Park. Washington teams have won nine consecutive years.

Continental Ruins Hungarians' Return
September 13, 1964

The return of Seattle Hungarians to the state league does not go according to script. The Hungarians, who had bolted to the Pacific Coast League after running roughshod over the first division for the better part of four years, are clipped by the Continentals (formerly Germania), 1-0, at White Center, in their first match back. Dieter Arpe scores the game's lone goal and Herman Widmer secures the shutout. The Magyars owned a 10-game (9-0-1) unbeaten streak in state league play dating back to November 1961.

Bakers Clinch Second-Half Title
March 8, 1964

The Buchan Bakers wrap up the state league first division's second-half title with a 3-2 victory over Loyal Realty at Lower Woodland. Mike Antonaide scores two goals in the final 15 minutes for Buchan, which finishes three points ahead of Germania and Loyal.

Fort Lewis-Denver Cup Tie is Fiasco
November 29, 1964

A U.S. Amateur Cup first round game between Fort Lewis and the Denver Kickers goes to the hosts on the field, 3-2, in Denver. The Soldiers initially protest, successfully, that the Kickers brought in a ringer. Later, tournament officials learn Fort Lewis used 17 non-registered foreign nationals and both teams are disqualified.

Former English Player, Manager Conducts Clinics
November 5, 1964

Jesse Carver, a former defender in England and manager in both Italy and Britain, conducts the first four clinics in Puget Sound at Seattle's Queen Anne Fieldhouse. Carver, 53, made a combined 200 appearances at Blackburn and Newcastle before World War II cut short his career. He's managed Italian giants such as Juventus, Lazio, Roma and Internazionale and England's West Brom and Coventry City. The clinics are set for Bellevue, Tacoma and the University of Washington. In addition, he conducts a televised clinic for KCTS.

Assumption, Lourdes Win CYO Titles
November 26, 1964

Tim Orden of Assumption School converts a rebound in fourth overtime for 1-0 victory over Lady of Lourdes in the CYO Cadet final at Lower Woodland on Thanksgiving Day. It's a reverse result in the Midget final, with Lourdes winning easily, 7-0.

Vancouver Boys Take Oldershaw
December 6, 1964

Vancouver's all-stars achieve a 1-1 road draw to win the Oldershaw Trophy series, 4-3 on aggregate, at Lower Woodland. The trophy returns north of the border for the first time in three years. Mark Leino of St. Margaret's scores for the CYO all-stars of Seattle. A week earlier Vancouver won the first leg, 3-2.

Magyars Open First-Half Lead
November 15, 1964

The Hungarians (8-1-0) open a three-point lead by pasting Loyal Realty (6-2-1), 4-0, at White Center. Mike Kuczi scrambles in a Steve Furjesi corner at 32 minutes, and Furjesi doubles the lead from Alex Bogdan at 57. A 35-yard Kuczi free kick puts the game out of reach, and he later crosses to Tibor Farkas for the fourth.

Hungarians Win Challenge Cup Opener
December 6, 1964

Seattle's Hungarians return home with a 3-2 victory over Bay Area league leader Teutonia DC in a U.S. Challenge Cup first round match at Balboa Park. Les Mueller comes off the bench and almost immediately scores what proves to be the winner, beating four defenders in the process. Tommy Major's penalty and Steve Furjesi give the Magyars a 2-nil lead. Teutonia files a protest immediately afterward, claiming referee John McFarlane ended the game five minutes early. The protest is disallowed.

Buchan Returns to State Throne
March 29, 1964

The Buchan Bakers cap a remarkable revival by winning the state championship, 4-2 over Germania, at Lower Woodland. The Bakers, dead last during the first half, won the second half and win their first overall crown since 1956 behind Tony Picinich's hat trick. Picinich gets the opener after eight minutes, Mike Antonaide makes it 2-nil in the 22nd, and Picinich gets his second early in the second half. A pair of Heinz Ritter goals brings Germania back in it before Picinich completes his hat trick. Ron Jepson and George Goers help Buchan control matters to the final whistle.

Hungarians First NW Team in Challenge Cup
November 1, 1964

The Seattle Hungarians become the first Pacific Northwest club and one of 123 nationwide to enter the U.S. Challenge Cup. The tournament features 25 entries from California. Fort Lewis enters the 132-team Amateur Cup field.

Hungarians Opt-Out of PCL, Return to State League
March 29, 1964

Seattle Hungarians owner Balint Ducz announces he's taking his team out of the Pacific Coast League after two seasons. Ducz, frustrated by mid-table finishes and a lack of a suitable home venue, will bring his club back to the state league. The Hungarians, playing at White Center and West Seattle stadiums, faced sagging attendance. Ducz indicates he will reconsider the PCL once the Interbay Field is completed.

Kuczi is the detonating spark. He covers the field like a blanket, sets up plays, makes tough shots look easy and still has plenty of energy left to play a strong game on defense.
Seattle P-I columnist Royal Brougham on Hungarians star Mike Kuczi
The type of soccer played in the United States is considerably slower and less skillful than what we play in Europe. I realize that most youngsters in this country prefer to devote their time to football, which we do not have in Europe. I would like to leave something behind with the coaches from the vast knowledge and experience of the game which I have acquired through many years of competition. I want to leave them with something for them to carry on with.
Former Juventus and Inter manager Jesse Carver on the purpose of his clinics
This is the finest soccer team Seattle has ever had. I think these boys could hold their own against the best in Canada.
Ron Tullis, Seattle P-I reporter, on the Hungarians' abilities
Hungarians PCL Results 1963-64
2 Vancouver Wallace0
2 Vancouver Firefighters4
0 Victoria United0
2 Vancouver Canadians4
2 at North Shore United2
2 at Columbus5
3 New Westminster Royals3
1 at Victoria United1
5 Vancouver Wallace3
1 North Shore United1
1 Vancouver Canadians2
1 Columbus4
1 North Shore United2
2 Vancouver Firefighters7
0 at Victoria United1
3 at New Westminster Royals1
3 Columbus3
2 at Vancouver Canadians2
2 New Westminster Royals0
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