The towns of Kingman, Seligman, Ash Fork, Winslow and Holbrook are spread out across northern Arizona along Route 66, today’s Interstate 40. Each one likes to boast they have the longest and strongest wind. The windy season began on New Year’s Day and lasted until December 31. Old railroaders like to sit around the round house and reminisce about the wind died for a few minutes. I recall the day when our high school baseball game was called off because of the calm. While working at a gas station on 66 a tourist asked me, “Does the wing blow this way all the time?” With a straight-face I replied, “No, sometimes it blows from the other way.”

As a high school baseball player I played in each town for three years. That qualifies me to choose which town is the windiest. I chose Ash Fork. I played Little League, Babe Ruth, American Legion, and semi-pro baseball there and played games in all the others.

Kingman’s baseball park had the only grass. Flagstaff, Williams, Holbrook, Winslow, and Seligman had dusty, but nice fields in the local parks or at the high schools.

Ash Fork’s ballfield was located north of the railroad tracks next to the old, abandoned stockyards. The outfield was covered with tumbleweeds and the infield was a birthing ground for small rocks. If there had been a Planned Parenthood for Rocks, the field would have been subject to a lawsuit.

The players were responsible for policing their positions. Mine was the batter’s box. You could rake up and dispose of the rocks one one day and the next day a new crop had grown in their place.

I was the catcher and captain of my high school baseball team, and I had to learn to gauge my throws to second base. If the wind was blowing from the south, I threw to third base and let it blow in to second. If it was blowing from the east, I rifled it towards first.

When I played for the semi-pro Glendale Greys and 1956 and Phoenix College two years later the coaches benched me for always throwing to the wrong base.

Charlie Grimm, a scout for the Chicago Cubs, wanted to sign me. He said I’d fit right in with the “Windy City”, but I figured any other windy town would be a step down.

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