The Oakland Athletic League (O.A.L.) was formed in 1919 and launched in 1920 with five charter high schools – Oakland, Oakland Technical, Vocational (later to be renamed McClymonds in 1923), University andFremont. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by three more schools – Roosevelt in 1925, San Leandro in 1928 and East Oakland (soon to be renamed Castlemont) in 1930. Oakland schools had previously been part of the Alameda County Athletic League.
The O.A.L. lost Roosevelt High when it became a junior high in 1942, University High when it closed in 1948, and San Leandro High when it dropped out of the conference in 1956. In 1961 Oakland’s newest comprehensive high school, Skyline, joined the league.
The O.A.L. became its own California Interscholastic Federation section in the spring of 1940 and has remained so to the present day. The history of the Oakland Athletic League is a wonderful and inspirational legacy of players, coaches, and events that greatly impacted the world of sports and helped to break down racial barriers. The summer of 2009 brings more attention to this legacy during the 21st annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture with a focus on the O.A.L. and Coach George Powles, and again in July with the induction of Rickey Henderson into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Since the O.A.L. formed, it has produced 61 major league baseball players (4 Hall of Famers), 23 professional basketball players (three Hall of Famers), 47 professional football players ( five in the College Football Hall of Fame), and many Olympic performers who have won a total of 10 Gold Medals.
– Paul Brekke-Miesner, Baseball and Freedom III: Remembering Coach Powles, The Incredible Legacy of the Oakland Athletic League