In 1955, I was 16 and a Junior at Boise High School. I was playing American Legion Baseball that summer. We played a majority of our games at Air Way park, home of the Boise Pilots of the Class C Pioneer League. The stadium was huge with long distances to the outfield fences over 20 feet high.
The stadium has since been demolished and a new ball park has been built for the owners the Boise Hawks of the current Northwest League.
We played our games in the Boise Valley, with teams from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Emmett and Payette. Prior to my playing, Harmon Killebrew played for Payette and signed a bonus contract with the Washington Senators for $50,000, a sum unheard of in those days.
I played third base and was a better hitter than fielder. In my first at bat I hit a fly ball to left center field. I thought I had hit it well and ran with my head down hoping to get a double or even a triple out of it. As I was rounding second base I heard the baseman say, “wow”. I had hit the ball over the left center field fence 365 feet from home plate. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it go over the outfield fence. I tried to duplicate the feat at my next at bat, but it only a one time life experience and to my knowledge had not been done since in that ballpark.
My parents, who watched most of my games, happened to be a little late and missed my homerun. As a kid my Dad would take me to the Boise Pilot games and in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever hit one out of this ballpark. After the game, as is the custom, our sponsor gave out Idaho Mountain Candy Bars to the players. Every body got one. I got two.
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