American Legion Baseball History!
Did you know that the first American Legion baseball tournament in our state took place back in 1928? The winning team 90 years ago was Great Falls, Roundup won the second title in 1929. Now Miles City had a very strong baseball program in those early years; winning 5 times in the first 10 seasons! So what team has won the most overall? Well that would be the Billings Royals….they won 28 since taking home their first championship back in 1930. At one point the Royals won 14 American Legion baseball championships in a row from 1954 to 1967. The coach during that incredible run was Ed Bayne. Ed’s best team was the 1960 ball club that advanced all the way to the national championship game. His star pitcher on that team….left handed ace Dave McNally. During that 1960 season McNally had an ERA of just 0.68 and averaged 2.3 strike outs per inning! Plus his pitching win-loss record that year was 18-1….his lone loss came in that national championship game!
McNally went on and had a great career in the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles. During the 1970 season McNally went 24-9 and was second in the Cy Young voting. From 1968 to 71 he went four seasons in a row with 20 or more wins.
It’s interesting to note that at Dehler Park in Billings they have just two statues out in front of the stadium….one of coach Ed Bayne and one of famed baseball pitcher Dave McNally.
Photo credited form findagrave.com