Hazard Bombers

From BR Bullpen

Team History[edit]

The Hazard Bombers joined the Mountain States League on June 12, 1948, replacing the Oak Ridge Bombers, who had gone 24-11. The Bombers went 41-32 the rest of the way and finished in second place, led by pitcher Bill Reeder, who led the league with a 2.20 ERA and 196 strikeouts. The Bombers went on to lose in the finals of the playoffs to the Morristown Red Sox 3 games to 2.

The next season, the Bombers struggled to a 35-89 mark and finished in last place in the eight team circuit. In 1950, they became a Brooklyn Dodgers farm team - the only affiliated team in the league - improved to 76-49, and finished in second place. Skipper Max Macon also won the league batting crown with a .392 average. However, the team was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Middlesboro Athletics.

The Bombers were even better in 1951, going 93-33 during the regular season and undefeated in the playoffs as they captured the league championship. Macon paced the circuit with 139 runs scored, 148 RBIs, and 54 doubles, while hitting .409. Outfielder Ken Cox had an even higher average, hitting .415 in 72 games. On the mound, the team was led by 18-year-old future Dodgers star Johnny Podres, who went 21-3 with a league-best 1.67 ERA and 228 strikeouts, and Dan Hayling, who was 24-4 with a 3.47 ERA and led the league in wins. They started off the season with a no-hitter thrown by Juan Torres, while Hayling got national attention by winning his first 18 decisions. The team was named one of the 100 best of all time in 2001.

In 1952, the Bombers were almost as good during the regular season, finishing in first place with an 87-32 record, but the club lost in the first round of the playoffs. After that year, the Bombers left the league, and pro baseball has not returned to Hazard, Kentucky to this day.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1948 41-32 2nd Hobe Brummitt Lost league finals Oak Ridge (24-11) moved to Hazard on June 10th
1949 35-89 8th Fred Marsh / George Mitrus / Hobe Brummitt
1950 76-49 2nd Max Macon Lost in 1st round
1951 93-33 1st Max Macon League Champs
1952 87-32 1st Mervin Dornburg Lost in 1st round

Further Reading[edit]

  • Sam Zygner: "Remembering the 1951 Hazard Bombers", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 44, Number 2 (Fall 2015), pp. 108-114.

External Link[edit]