APRIL 12, 1909: ILH schedules first baseball season

Saint Louis fell short in the inaugural ILH season in 1909 despite featuring crack pitcher and captain Bill Espinda (Far right in the last row).

On this date in 1909, the ILH locked down a schedule for its first official baseball season.

Punahou ended up winning the circuit, and repeated in 1910, but the thing that had fans most excited was the parity. The final contest, won by Punahou over Kamehameha in 11 innings, continued a theme of close games that was lauded by both newspapers, which pointed out that the only blowout came after the race was decided and McKinley played some younger boys.

The Buffanblu closed the season with six straight victories after starting 1-2. Kamehameha and Saint Louis tied for second at 4-5 with McKinley a game behind.

The ILH’s first hyped star was William “The King of Spain” Espinda, who enrolled after a celebrated start on Maui. Espinda got so well known that he was referred to by his moniker instead of his name after the first month of the season. Sportswriters thought he bore and uncanny resemblance to Spanish monarch Alfonso XIII. In September he threw a perfect game in the Oahu League.

The first official games in ILH history were washed out by rain, making Kamehameha’s 5-4 extra-innings win over McKinley at Alexander Field the curtain-raiser. The King of Spain lost to Punahou 7-1 in his hyped debut, but struck out 11 batters and walked only one.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.