Roy Helser

From BR Bullpen

Royal Herman Helser

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 195 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Roy Helser won 20 games three times in the highest level of the minors, once leading his league in shutouts, but never played in the majors. He later was a very successful college coach.

Helser also played football and basketball in high school. [1] He was a three-sport player in college (baseball, basketball, football) before a football ankle injury ended his career. [2] He married a fellow student, Dorothy Evelyn Wall, and they became the first married couple to attend Linfield. [3] He turned pro in 1937 with the Waterloo Reds (5-3, 4.41) and Peoria Reds (0-3, 11.63). He battled control issues with 130 walks in 122 innings. He was second in the Western League in walks (115).

With the Silverton Red Sox, he was MVP of the 1939 National Baseball Congress World Series, four years after Satchel Paige took that honor. [4] He returned to the pro ranks in 1940 with the Salem Senators, posting a 16-10, 4.10 record. He tied Marcel Serventi for 6th in the Western International League in wins and was 6th in IP (226). Walks remained an issue, though far down from 1937; his 125 free passes were third in the WIL. He also hit .297 and slugged .480, either playing the field or pinch-hitting regularly.

The left-hander batted .287/?/.448 in 1941, split between the Senators (15-3, 3.08) and the San Francisco Seals (1-1, 5.79). He was 5th in the WIL in wins (between Mike Budnick and Ronald Bryant) and 4th in ERA among pitchers with 100+ IP. At the same time, he was now coaching high school baseball, basketball and football at Lebanon High School, near Salem. [5] He coached for Lebanon 1942 as well and pitched briefly for the Portland Beavers (1-2, 1.97). He was 2-1 for Portland in 1943. Also during World War II, he played basketball for the AAU Albina Hellships. [6]

In 1944, he starred for his hometown team, going 20-16 with a 2.41 ERA, 26 complete games and 8 shutouts for Portland. He had the best ERA on a staff that included Marino Pieretti, Ad Liska and Syd Cohen, who all spent time in the big leagues. He tied Clem Dreisewerd and Ray Harrell for 6th in the 1944 PCL in wins (the others in the top ten would all spend time in the majors). He was also 7th in ERA (between Tom Seats and Joe Demoran), 8th in complete games, first in shutouts (tied with Glenn Elliott), 8th in IP (280, between Ray Prim and Jorge Comellas), 3rd in walks (120, behind Frank Dasso and Pieretti) and 4th in K (156, between Harrell and Carl Fischer; again, he was the only one in the top 10 not to appear in MLB during his career). He also was coaching Central Catholic High School in Portland in 1944-1945. [7]

Helser helped Portland finish first in the regular season in the 1945 PCL, going 20-14, 3.37. He batted .266/.286/.322 with eight doubles and 21 RBI. He tied Demoran and teammates Liska and Don Pulford for 6th in the league in wins, tied Dutch Dumler for 5th in complete games (26), tied for 9th in shutouts (3), was 10th with 270 innings (between Liska and Don Osborn), was 10th with 99 walks and was 7th in strikeouts (136, between Lefty Mossor and Garth Mann).

He had his third straight season of 20 wins at the minors' highest level (now renamed AAA from AA) in 1946, with a 20-16, 3.04 record for the Beavers while batting .254/.296/.336. He tied Eddie Erautt for second in the 1946 Pacific Coast League in victories (10 behind Larry Jansen), tied for fifth in losses, was second with 28 complete games (3 behind Jansen), was third with 293 IP (behind Jansen and Tony Freitas), was second with 118 walks (five behind Red Lynn) and was third with 175 whiffs (trailing Erautt and Cliff Chambers).

Roy slipped to 10-11, 4.48 in 1947 and hit .265/.322/.410 with three dingers. He tied for fifth in the 1947 PCL with three shutouts. He went deep three times again in 1948, producing at a .281/.296/.417 clip at age 36 and keeping up double-digit in wins (12-11, 4.80). He threw four more shutouts, tying Vincent DiBiasi for 4th in the 1948 PCL and was 5th with 132 whiffs (between Bill Werle and Lynn).

He kept on rolling in 1949 at 16-10, 2.95. He was 4th in the 1949 PCL in ERA (trailing Willie Ramsdell, Steve Nagy and Ken Holcombe, all of whom played in MLB), tied for 9th in complete games (19) and 9th in Ks (125). In 1950, he had his last of his seven straight double-digit win seasons for Portland in the highest level of minor league ball, going 12-8 with a 3.19 ERA and five shutouts. Among pitchers with 100+ innings, he was 4th in the 1950 PCL in ERA (between Max Surkont and Bob Gillespie). He also tied Red Embree and Bob Drilling for second in shutouts, three behind Jim Wilson.

At age 39, he fell to 8-16, 4.64 for the 1951 Beavers. He tied Earl Harrist for second in the 1951 Pacific Coast League in losses, two behind Chet Johnson. He was 1-0 for Portland in 1952, allowing two runs in ten innings to complete his playing career. He had gone 159-125 as a pro with 121 wins for Portland in AA, AAA or Open, whichever one was the highest classification of the minor leagues in that given year. He also hit .250 with 17 career home runs, holding his own at the plate.

While still winding down his playing career, he began coaching baseball at his alma mater. He was 316-199-6 at Linfield from 1950-1970 and winning the 1966 NAIA College World Series for their first national title. He also coached basketball from 1949-1961 and was assistant football coach for a few years. [8] He coached Bob Martyn, the first major leaguer to come out of Linfield (Helser himself having never gotten a look at MLB). He later was Linfield's athletic director and they won their second NAIA College World Series while he held that role. [9] The school's baseball field is named in his memory.


  1. Volga Germans in Portland
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.
  4. National Baseball Congress
  5. Volga Germans in Portland
  6. ibid.
  7. ibid.
  8. Linfield University
  9. ibid.