Wednesday, April 6, 2016

When Baseball Was King-The Idaho-Washington League

The day was probably blustery and cold as the meeting on January 27th, 1928 at the Dessert hotel in Spokane. The subject of the meeting was none other than the formation of the Idaho-Washington Baseball League. The franchises that would be the pioneer members of the new league were three from Spokane, one from the city of Coeur D'Alene, and two from the Coeur D Alene mining district, including one from Burke and one from Wallace.

The decision was based on the wide appeal of the nations' past time, and the passion for baseball was at a fevered pitch in the mining camps. One of the biggest factors for including Burke, well, here is a quote from Mr. Ferris, the coordinator of the meeting.

Burke has built an expensive ballpark, and the people are keen for the proposal.
Yes, baseball was a very big thing in the Valley, and the leagues were real and played at a pro-level. Several players from Burke and Wallace had cups of coffee in the Major Leagues including the legendary Gonzaga Univesity star  and Wallace High School coach,  Mel Ingram, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I plan on posting more about him in a future blog.

The new league decided to follow the same format of the Pacific Coast League and split the season in half with the winner of the fist half playing the winner of the second half for the league championship. And so, on the cold January night in 1928, a great new league was born, and Wallace and Burke became baseball giants in those early mining days.


6 comments:

tomas said...

Is the expensive ballpark in Burke the baseball field carved out of the woods up by the power substation above Burke?

Go Figure said...

Cedar- As a youngster my Dad took me to the Burke Field. I most recently went back up to the Burke Field two summers ago. It can be found, if a person looks for it, down a rough old one lane 'road' where 'tomas' mentioned. The setting is amazing! The field butts up to the mountainside and it is completely surrounded by towering pines. As I stood taking in the view, I could literally feel the energy in the air. I had chills going up my spine and, if I listened closely, I could swear that I heard the crowd roar at the crack of the bat. Baseball was meant to be played at the Burke Field; not the gaudy concrete and glass palaces where it is played today by sloppily dressed millionaires who don't know how, and obviously don't try, to roll their sanitaries, stirrup stockings and pants together and don't even know how to bunt or slide.

Cedar Street Kid said...

Thomas, yes to your question.

Cedar Street Kid said...

GF, I visited the old park many times, too as a child. My brother, dad, and I would play catch and dad would hit fungoes to us. When I was really little, the old grandstands were still there as well as the drinking fountains and dugouts. It was awesome. My dad saw the House of David and the KC Monarchs play there. The KC Monarchs said that it was the most beat ul park they had ever seen. The great Satchel Paige pitched there. I,t oo, go up about once a year to revisited and to pay homage to the past. One time Leon and I found some old baseballs. Our imaginations ran wild. (:)

Go Figure said...

Cedar; I wonder who owns that field now. Any idea?

Cedar Street Kid said...

GF-I heard a long time ago that Hecla owned it, but I really don't know for sure.