Four Baseball Legends You Didn’t Know Played in Boise
It's been a strange year for sports with the COVID-19 pandemic changing schedules, shortening seasons, and keeping fans away from the teams they love. As we head towards a fanless Major League Baseball post-season, did you know that Boise has a history of great baseball?
If you've moved to Boise in the last year, you may not even know that Boise is the home to the Boise Hawks. The Hawks are a Class A Minor League team that is part of the Colorado Rockies farm system. The Hawks weren't the only team to play here, though. Minor League Baseball came to the Treasure Valley for the first time in 1926 for one season in 1928 with the Boise Senators. After the season, the league folded because of travel costs being too high in the mountainous terrain. Ten years later, baseball returned with the Boise Pilots in 1939. They were here until 1954. They then became the Boise Braves from 1955 until 1963. Then Boise went without baseball until 1975.
The first teams played at Airway Park. The stadium was built in 1939 and got its name because it was just a few blocks from the Boise Airport. The Boise Airport at that time was located where Boise State's campus is today. After the 1963 season, the stadium was demolished. Sitting on this spot now is the MK Nature Center just off the Greenbelt.
The Boise baseball history is pretty impressive, though, when you read the names of the players who played here. Here are the most notable players to play for Boise:
Sandy Alomar, Sr.
Sandy Alomar, Sr. played shortstop for the Boise Braves in 1962. He went on to play for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves in the majors before moving on to the Mets, White Sox, Angels, Yankees, and Rangers. He's probably even better known for being the father to All-Stars Sandy Alomar, Jr, and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar.
Bill Lucas played shortstop for the 1960 Boise Braves. He was a good player but is best known for what he did after he played. Bill Lucas was the very first African-American general manager in Major League Baseball with the Atlanta Braves. He did very well for the Braves, drafting and acquiring players like Dale Murphy, Phile Niekro, and Bob Horner. After almost three years on the job, he had a heart attack and died at 43. Side-note, his sister was married to the Home Run King, Hank Aaron, for 18 years.
Bob Uecker played catcher for the Boise Braves in 1958. He's a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not as a player, as a broadcaster. He has been the play by play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers since 1971. He was part of one of the most famous matches in WWE history when he was the ring announcer for the 1987 Wrestlemania match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. He was in one of the best parts of the movie "Major League." He plays the announcer, who says, "Just a bit outside!" He was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and was the face of Miller Lite's TV commercials in the 80's.
John Lackey is the most recent notable who played in Boise. He was a pitcher for the Boise Hawks in 1999. Lackey went to the majors and has pitched in and has been a part of three World Series Championship teams. He most recently played for the Chicago Cubs.