John Holway / Negro Leagues
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By John B Holway
Only four men I know of ever hit a ball out of Fenway Park to the right of the flag pole. I saw one - Johnny Lindell, a pitcher for the Yankees, about 1945. The others were Hank Greenberg, maybe Jimmie Foxx, and Bill "Moose" Skowron, who died last week at the ago of 82.
I once cornered Bill at a hotel bar during an old-timers' weekend. "I saw the longest home run you ever hit," I said.
He began guessing. " Boston?"
"No. 1950. Iowa City, Iowa ."
His eyes got as big as saucers. "You saw that one?!"
In fact, I can still see it. It was a raw March day. Bill was a 19 year-old fullback for Purdue and, I think, was catching for the Boilermakers against the Hawkeyes that day. He whipped one up into the jet stream. It streaked over the wire fence in left, over the street, over a row of houses, and out of sight.
Next time you get to Iowa City, look up. It may still be orbiting overhead.