Born out of sheer will in a dusty, last-stop town on the Camas Prairie.



The Hill City Bullies were born out of sheer will in a dusty, last-stop town on the Camas Prairie. The first team ever formed in the Idaho Mythical Minor Leagues, the Bullies bootstrapped their way into history, breaking hickory hoes over their knees to form their first bats and bartering for gloves with the train crews that arrived from larger towns on the Oregon Short Line. 

After practicing against each other for a year, the Hill City Bullies faced their first season of opponents in 1911. Hill City’s Winter Wheat Field (which, in milder winters, was a field of wheat, to earn extra cash for the players’ traveling per diem of one bit) was an infamously dusty, hardscrabble diamond that the Bullies used to their advantage. Used to breathing thick air, their bodies protected by sturdy jerseys made from wool from Hill City sheep, the Bullies dominated visiting players and retained a distinct advantage when visiting other teams. 

Their playing conditions made them strong and formed an indivisible bond: The team volunteered for the Army en masse when the United States entered WWI in 1917. The team’s first baseman, catcher, and left fielder were killed in the Argonne the following year. Members of the remaining Idaho Mythical Minor Leagues throughout the state wore black armbands in solidarity during the 1918 season. “It was the least we could do for those boys,” one Boise player said when interviewed about the tribute in the Idaho Daily Statesman. “Those Hill City fellows always were the best at putting up a fight, and we surely did enjoy it.”