1953 – Around the World and Close to Home
Dwight Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th President of the United States, several weeks later Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies and by year’s end the Korean conflict hostilities cease with an armistice agreement. Mount Everest is summitted, DNA discovered and the first open-heart surgery performed. At home, Eastside community of Bellevue, population about 10,000, is incorporated and in Seattle the Alaskan Way Viaduct opens for traffic. In American sports, the Yankees win the World Series over the Brooklyn Dodgers in six games of a Subway Series and the Minneapolis Lakers repeat as NBA champions and the single U.S. National Team soccer match is a friendly versus England before less than 8,000 in Yankee Stadium.
Bakers Raise the Game
When Eddie Craggs sought a sponsor for his fledgling soccer club, he did not stray far from his Ballard base, nor was it necessary. Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood was home to one of the region’s foremost bread-makers, as well as title sponsor to a rising amateur basketball power. Craggs convinced George Buchan, a Scotsman and founder of the Buchan Baking Co., that local soccer was fast growing in popularity and the nearby Fremont Boys Club team was worthy of backing.
At the time of his pitch, Fremont ruled the senior youth ranks, and Craggs wanted these growing boys to new play amongst the men of the State Senior First Division. Buchan’s basketball team had grown into a state AAU champion in its first five years. It took Craggs just three seasons to groom their soccer namesakes into a champion in their own right. In 1953, Buchan Bakers upset Norselander Vikings in the playoff for the league championship and the first of the Dough Boys’ five straight titles.
Buchan began the campaign in unspectacular fashion, finishing fifth in the first half. Yet they bolt out of gates in the New Year, winning four in a row, highlighted by a 4-3 rain-soaked win over the first-half winner Vikings. Five weeks later, the Bakers again found the odd goal versus the Vikings, in extra time, to claim their first league prize.
Buchan later consolidates its position as the best in the Northwest by reclaiming the Northwest championship from Portland’s Clan McCleay and taking the five-a-side tournament. Green Lake Bowl, third during the second half, proves master of tournament play. First, they deny Buchan the double by rallying from two goals down in the George Washington Cup final, then lifting the knockout cup in April.