Siuslaw News | Portland Pickles pays homage to our history

July 26, 2022 — On November 12, 1970, Oregon Highways Division officials used 20 sticks of dynamite in an attempt to rid a beach north of Florence of a rotting sperm whale. Things did not go as planned, as immediately after the explosion debris rained down on everyone present to see the spectacle, even crushing some cars.

The Portland Pickles are a collegiate baseball team that plays in the West Coast League.

To pay homage to this infamous moment in Oregon history and possibly attract a few more fans, the Pickles hosted “Exploding Whale Night” on July 20.

It was the seventh inning and the score was 32-3. The visiting Willamette Wild Bills were losing hope of a comeback.

“We have a whale that we want to blow up and a number of kids in the audience would love to see this carnage happen,” announcer Mike Chexx said during the live broadcast of the show.

The decision was made to end the game early and start the festivities.

First, “Take Me to the Ball Game” was played. Then AC/DC’s “TNT” came on and the crowd knew what was coming next.

Team personnel and trainees brought the “whale” to center field – in cardboard and – the crowd counted from 10 and the whale exploded, sending plumes of pink smoke and what the officials of the team called “bacon”.

Fans came away satisfied with the Pickle’s victory and the rare opportunity to see a fake whale explode.

For more information on the Portland Pickles, visit

For more information on Florence’s relationship with the whale, visit Exploding Whale Memorial Park on Rhododendron Drive and look for news of the 2022 Exploding Whale Memorial Celebration in November.

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