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Bombs, Boise City and Baseball

July 5, 2000

Historian's Notes

The bombing of Boise City is such an odd and entertaining part of Oklahoma's history that to exclude it from the Almanac would be a veritable crime. The city, far from being upset by the event, uses it as a promotional item. A bomb, planted much later, can be seen in the ground outside the courthouse and the full story can be found on the backs of area restaurant menus!

I'm not a fan of organized sports by any means, but the first organized baseball game in Indian Territory is a newsworthy event by anyone's standards. Those old ball players were tough! No gloves or protection of any kind!!

Resources for "Bombs, Boise City":

Couch, E. (1999). Oklahoma trivia. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press.

Speer, B. (1996). Moments in Oklahoma history: About people, places, things, and events: A book of trivia. Norman, OK: Reliance Press.

In addition, various newspapers found at the State Historical Society were used.

Resources for "Baseball":

Speer, B. (1996). Moments in Oklahoma history: About people, places, things, and events: A book of trivia. Norman, OK: Reliance Press.

Burke, B., Franks, K. A., & Parr, R. (1999). Glory days of summer: The history of baseball in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma Heritage Association.

Almanac Transcript

Hello, I'm Steven Kite welcoming you to the Oklahoma Audio Almanac where we turn the pages of history to bring you the stories of our state's past.

This week bombs, Boise City and baseball make the headlines.

On July 5, 1945 Oklahoma once again made the national news as being one of the few states to be bombed during WW II. On a warm sleepy Saturday night fifty-five years ago, 100 pound bombs began falling upon the Cimarron County seat of Boise City. Apparently a B-17 bomber based out of the Dalheart, Texas Army Air Base was on a practice mission and mistook the street lights around the Court House for their target site. Bombs filled with sand and a small amount of explosives hit the target and surrounding area causing only minimal damage to city buildings and no actual harm to citizens. Boise City newspaper reporter Fred Krieger noted the next day, “there are many things Boise City needs, among which I could suggest some searchlights and anti-aircraft guns.” Army Air Force officers toured the city several days later offering a personal apology to the citizens of the shaken town.

The game of baseball in one form or another has been played in this country since at least the 1700s. It didn't take long for the residents of what is now Oklahoma to pick up on the concept of baseball, and the first organized game in the area occurred in Indian Territory on July 4th, 1882. A crowd of three hundred watched the contest between the neighboring towns of Krebs and Savanna. In a game that featured plenty of wagering and fist fights the Krebs team proved triumphant over Savanna with a score of 35-4. Catcher for the Krebs team, PT Barnum, played the entire game without a face mask or glove and reportedly came away from the event with a hand that looked like a ham. The game was played on the open prairie with cans and sacks of hay used as bases.

While baseball was popular throughout the region, it wasn't until the arrival of Joe "Iron Man" McGinnity to the mines in Krebs that the sport began to attract a substantial following. McGinnity moved to Indian Territory with a good grasp and a love for the game of baseball and helped to organize teams throughout the region while he pitched and managed the famous team from Krebs. McGinnity worked hard for the sport and is known today as the father of Oklahoma baseball...and that's what happened this week in Oklahoma history.

I'm Steven Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the OSU Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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