Howard Wesley Boles Sr.
- Bats Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 220 lb.
- High School LaSalle-Peru Township High School
- Born March 25, 1927 in LaSalle, IL USA
- Died June 8, 2013 in Des Moines, IA USA
Howard Boles was a power-hitting outfielder who played in 1945 and from 1947 to 1956. He won two home run totals and finished second or third on two other occasions.
He joined the Chicago Cubs organization in 1945, playing for the Statesville Cubs of the North Carolina State League. In 55 games, he hit .306 with two home runs and 63 hits. He was a military policeman in Germany after high school. After not playing in 1946 (presumably due to military service), he returned to action in 1947 with the Central Association's Clinton Cubs; he hit .232 with 11 home runs and 105 hits in 122 games. He tied for 6th in the league in homers. In 1948, he played for the Clinton Cubs, Springfield Cubs, Duluth Dukes and Sioux Falls Canaries. In 77 games, he hit .306 with eight triples and three home runs.
Boles played for the Clinton Steers and Decatur Cubs in 1949, hitting .271 with 18 home runs and 125 hits in 122 games. His 13 dingers for Decatur tied Walt Moryn and two others for third in the Three-I League. With the Sioux Falls Canaries in 1950, he hit .313 with 22 home runs, 28 doubles and 141 hits in 125 games. He led the Northern League in home runs (3 ahead of runner-up Karol Kwak), slugging percentage (.548, .025 ahead of Kwak) and total bases (247, 24 ahead of Bill Bruton) and tied Ken Landenberger for the lead in doubles. He was 4th with 96 RBI, 8 shy of pacesetter Landenberger. On the downside, his .932 fielding percentage was last among the NL's starting outfielders.
Suiting up for the Des Moines Bruins and Denver Bears in 1951, Boles hit a combined .259 with 29 doubles, 32 home runs, 102 RBI and 144 hits in 1950 games. He led the Western League in home runs (beating out number two Pat Seerey and Michael Lutz by 13 and more than double Ken Boyer's total), was second in total bases (273, 13 behind George Freese) and RBI (four behind Freese), was 4th in runs (96, behind Ron Samford, Bruton and Freese), ranked 4th in strikeouts (100) and tied Lucius Morgan for fifth in the league in games played. He was also 10th in doubles and in the top 5 in slugging. He joined the Boston Braves system partway through the season.
In 1952, he played for the Miami Beach Flamingos, Hartford Chiefs and Atlanta Crackers, hitting a combined .248 with 13 home runs in 102 games. Moving to a higher-offense loop in 1953, he responded by hitting .320 with 35 doubles and 38 home runs for the Wichita Falls Spudders and Atlanta Crackers. Almost all the damage was done with Wichita Falls, as he was only 9 for 45 with two home runs for the higher-level Atlanta. He led the Big State League in slugging (.682) and finished second in home runs with 36, behind only Al Neil's 39. He was also second, behind Neil, in total bases (289). He was 4th in runs (110), 7th in average (.333) and tied Dean Stafford for 4th in RBI (106) despite playing only 110 games in the league due to his time with Atlanta. He left the Braves system following 1953 and bounced around various organizations until his retirement.
With the Oklahoma City Indians in 1954, Boles slugged another 38 home runs, while hitting .306/.370/.607 with 26 doubles, 88 runs and 109 RBI in 138 games. This wash is best season in AA. He led the Texas League in slugging (.607, .005 ahead of runner-up Bus Clarkson) and finished third in home runs behind Clarkson and Frank Kellert. He was 7th in RBI and tied Les Fleming for 9th with 294 total bases. His 9 errors tied for the lead among TL left fielders.
He split 1955 between the Memphis Chickasaws, Charleston Senators, Oklahoma City Indians and Tulsa Oilers, hitting a combined .272 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI. He was just 5 for 32 with Charleston in his only chance at AAA. He wrapped up his career in 1956 by hitting .241 with 23 home runs combined for the Syracuse Chiefs, Savannah Redlegs, Lubbock Hubbers/Texas City Texans and Port Arthur Sea Hawks.
Overall, he hit .278 with 216 home runs and 231 doubles in 11 minor league seasons.
He later worked for Alcoa.