Harmon Killebrew Miracle Field celebrates first anniversary

A young player gets ready to bat during the 1st anniversary game at the Harmon Killebrew Miracle Field in Payette.

All Thursday afternoon, winds gusted and black clouds threatened with storms over the Harmon Killebrew Miracle Field in Payette, but surprisingly, the rains held. Then, when it came time to play ball, a patch of blue opened up and a late-afternoon sun illuminated the field and its players.

In its short existence, the volunteer board of the Miracle League of Payette has enjoyed that kind of good fortune. In just a year, they raised over $385,000 in cash and in-kind donations for the field. Some of that money was still coming in as the field's rubber composite surface was poured last April. And everything was in place and ready for the first season of league play.

Nita Killabrew, widow of Harmon Killebrew, called it a miracle.

"This community has rallied and done an amazing thing," she said. "And they did it very quickly, something that larger communities haven't been able to do."

She was on hand for the first anniversary Miracle Field game and for the unveiling of a monument to the key local donors who made the field a reality.

"This is the only field he ever asked to have it named after him. It meant just so much to him. If he were here today he'd be elated."

Judging by the sudden and unexpected sunshine Thursday afternoon, perhaps he was there.

The Miracle Field is designed to allow children with special needs to play the game that Killebrew loved.

Harmon Killebrew is Payette's most famous native son. He grew up in Payette and was on the 1952 state championship American Legion team. As a professional, he became one of the game's great sluggers and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 2011 at the age of 74 and is buried in Payette.

The field in Payette is the first and still the only Miracle Field in Idaho. Teams from across the Treasure Valley will head there on Saturdays to take part in Miracle League games.

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