The Home Run That Never Was LbNA # 25115
|Placed Date||Sep 1 2006|
****This box has been replaced on 12-2-2010****
Midland has always been a baseball town, as long as I can remember. The current class AA team is called the Midland Rockhounds and is a member of the Texas League. They play in the new Citibank Ball Park west of town. Back in the 1950’s, they played at Indians Stadium located at the corner of Wall Street and the Andrews Highway. Indians Stadium no longer exists; a Walgreen’s Drug Store stands in its place. I used to go there as a kid, back in the early fifies. I had no money, but sometimes I would be able to sneak in, if I was lucky. Most of the time, I’d climb up on the outfield fence and watch the game from there, as other folks would do. One night in the summer of 1954, I was 13 years old at the time, the Indians were playing the Roswell Rockets. Now, the Rockets had a big ol’ home run hitter named Joe Bauman, and that year he was hitting more home runs than anyone had ever hit before. He hit 72 that year, a record for professional baseball that stood until Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2002. (He also had a .400 batting average.) I went out to the park to check it out. I found a perch on the left field fence about 20 feet inside the foul pole. Back in those days, West Texas was prone to sandstorms, and I mean real big, red, block out the sun sandstorms. As luck would have it, one of them was rolling in from the west and it was coming in fast. It was somewhere in the middle of the ballgame when Big Joe came up to bat and the dust was so thick you could barely make him out from where I was standing. Well, he hit a long ball and it was coming right at me, only higher. The left fielder for the home team was running, but he could tell that he wasn’t going to catch that ball, so he just kept running, right on past the foul pole, then stopped and seemingly watched the ball majestically sail over the fence, foul. “Foul” cried the ump. He couldn’t see the ball in the dust, but he could see the fielder. Only the ball wasn’t foul, it went over my head and ended up across the street. Joe Bauman hit 72 home runs that year, but he would have had 73 had it not been for a sandstorm and a quick thinking left fielder. I read many years later that Joe questioned the umpire's call on another ball that he thought was a home run. The umpire said, "I didn't see the ball, so I can't call it a home run, but I did see you swing, so that's a strike."
This letterbox is placed at Scharbauer Sports Complex in Midland. From I-20, exit north onto West Loop 250. Exit onto Thomason Drive and turn left under the loop. Follow Thomason drive around to the complex where you will see Grande Football Stadium and Citibank Ballpark. Make your way into the parking lots and find lot number C 10 (numbers are posted on the light poles. Park under the C 10 sign.
To the box:
There are two rock bed areas in the parking lot. Walk to the one closest to the baseball park; it has eight large stones. Walk to the rock nearest to the parking lot and on the far right. It has a pink smiley face painted on it, on the far side. There is a small crevice under the left side of that rock and there you will find the green painted letterbox covered with smaller rocks.