A BRIEF HISTORY OF KIRKLAND AMERICAN

Kirkland Little League, the grandparent of Kirkland American, was founded on March 22nd 1951, now the oldest Little League in Washington State. Initially, there were only four Major Baseball teams - the Pirates, Tigers, Dodgers and Red Sox - with 12 players each ages 10 thru 12. The league drew from the entire Lake Washington School District, including Kirkland, Juanita, and all of Redmond through Issaquah.

Games were played on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the old Peter Kirk Field, with the second game played under the lights. There were no weekend games. Uniforms were not taken home but left in lockers at the Civic Center, home of the Kirkland Performance Center. Later they were stored at Everest Park in our equipment storage room still being used today. They were only washed once a year! Yuk! The uniforms were wool and buttoned up the front.

If a player hit a home run at Peter Kirk Park, he got a free hot dog. Peter Kirk Park was used for baseball teams up to the age of 18. A rope was set up 200 feet from home plate in the outfield for Little League games, to serve as the outfield fence. Behind right field was the old Armory building; behind center field was the Old Civic Center; and behind left field was the old Jensen property. A field was developed on the Jensen property initially for Coast baseball. Then Little League used the field also, after being bumped off Peter Kirk Field. Little League games were played there from 1957 until 1962, when Little League was moved to Everest Park.











 

The late Lee Johnson Jr., the owner of Lee Johnson Chevrolet and a longtime generous supporter of Kirkland American Little League, was one of the original 48 players on the four teams. Ron Avery was one of the four original coaches; his son played with Lee Johnson Jr., and Mr. Avery's grandson was on the 1982 World Series Champions.


In 1955 Kirkland Little League won the state All-Star championship and traveled to San Bernardino, California, for the Western Regional tournament.

  

 Kirkland Little League split in 1957 into the American and National leagues, with NE 85th Street or Central Way being the boundary between the two leagues. That boundary was later moved to NE 126th Place, north of Totem Lake.

The Everest Park "A" field was opened in 1963. This park was named after H.P. "Dick" Everest, a community leader and vice president at the University of Washington. The old Navy shipyard had government housing during World War II where the old "B" and "C" fields were originally. The land for Everest Park was donated to the city of Kirkland by the U.S. government. Project "B" housing was where the original "B" field was located. The original "C" field was used by baseball teams made up of 13 through 18 year old players for only one year in the 1970s. Then they were allowed to play at the Lake Washington High School field and "C" field became an adult softball field.
   

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