The Ed Bayne Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to honor players, coaches, and teams who exemplify the high ideals of Coach Ed “Eddie” Bayne. New members are inducted annually at the BALB Hall of Fame Banquet/Auction.
Bayne coached the Billings Royals from 1952 to 1973 and again from 1988 to 1992. Under his leadership, the Royals won twenty state championships, including fourteen straight wins from 1954 through 1967. He took the team to the National American Legion World Series four times, playing for the championship in 1960.
Baynes put Billings American Legion Baseball on the map. But this accomplishment was secondary to his primary goal: helping young men become responsible adults through academics, character, leadership, sportsmanship, and citizenship. He molded boys from a variety of backgrounds into cohesive teams of future leaders aware of their obligation to give back to the community. Acting as ambassadors for Billings, Montana, Baynes’ boys were recognized wherever they travelled as a class act on and off the field.
Born on August 6, 1916, Mr. Bayne passed away July 19, 2003 at the age of 86.
BALB’s most famous alumnus, Dave McNally pitched for the Post #4 Royals from 1958 to 1960, earning a record of 18-1 in his last year. That year, with McNally as lead pitcher, the Royals advanced to the championship game of the American League World Series.
Dave was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1962 and played there for 13 years of his 14-year MLB career. He compiled an overall win/loss pitching record of 184-119 and is the only pitcher ever to hit a grand slam home run in a World Series game, doing so in the third game of the 1970 series. He also pitched in the 1966 series.
Dave won 20 or more games in four straight seasons from 1968 to 1971. He was an MLB All-Star in in 1969, 1979, and 1972, and was the first pitcher inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame. The Billings Gazette and Sports Illustrated selected Dave McNally as Montana’s Athlete of the Century.
In 2002, Dave became one of the first players to receive the “Ed Bayne Award” with induction into the Billings American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame.
Dave passed away in December 2002. His Billings Royals uniform, number 16, was retired the next year, and the “Dave McNally Honorary Friend of American Legion Award” was inaugurated. The award is presented annually to nonalumni (nonplayers) who have devoted time and talent off the field to ensure the continuation of the great American pastime in Billings.
The Les Smith Memorial Sportsmanship Award is presented annually to two 18-year-old BALB players, one from the Billings Royals and one from the Billings Scarlets. Recipients are selected by their coaches on the basis of character, citizenship, leadership, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
The award originated in 1979, was discontinued for the years 1992-2012, and was reinstated in 2013. It is sponsored by BALB and St. Vincent Hospital in memory of Les Smith, a St. Vincent employee and long-time BALB volunteer.
The Les Smith award winners are announced on BALB Senior Night, which is the last Royals/Scarlets game of the season. Each winner will receive an engraved plaque, and annual winners will be listed on a plaque to be hung in a yet-to-be-determined location at St. Vincent Hospital.