Sunday, November 1, 2009
Hillis Layne recently sent me a note and some info on his playing career. Hillis spent some time with the Washington Senators (1941, 1944, & 1945). He sent a great article about his playing days from 12 years ago written by a Mavis Amundson.
Mr. Layne has some notoriety as a legend in Seattle playing for the Rainiers. While playing in the Pacific Coast League in 1947, he lead all hitters with a .367 batting average! He has scouted, managed in the minors, and in 1987, he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame!
He was very popular in the Seattle area, and in 1950, when he was cut from the team, many fans were very unhappy. He was nicknamed "Mandrake" because of his near magic ability to get on base. He would also later play for the Portland Beavers, and in the 50s he worked as a player/manager for a few teams. He then worked as a scout until 1976.
Hillis mentions that he spent 20 years in pro ball as a player, and 18 years as a scout for the Majors.
Addressing some of my specific questions about the game, Mr. Layne notes that the games has changed so much and that there are too many teams. He mentions that when he played, there were 8 teams in the AL and 8 teams in the NL. Today there are 30 teams. He says that he enjoyed playing one hour and 18 minute games and now it takes that much time to play 3 innings with all of the relief pitchers they use in every game.
Hillis has a connection to the area simply because he is from and lives in the other great state- Tennessee. He notes too that he enjoyed many games at the University of Kentucky.
Hillis added a PS on his note to me.
He says he is in poor health at 91 years of age, and he goes on to ask that I pray that his health will improve.
You know I will Hillis, and I ask that anyone that stumbles across this entry on my blog do the same! You are an asset to the game and the region!