During his High School years, Mr. Biles was a standout three sport athlete – on the frontline in basketball, as an end in football and spectacularly on the mound in baseball.
Len grew up on the Southside of Johnson City starting his mastery of pitching under the guidance of his father, who himself was a star pitcher for Binghamton Central and going on to play for a Yankee affiliate in West Virginia. Len’s younger brother Ed also had the baseball bug and became Len’s catcher.
Len’s star started to shine in his junior year, pitching three games in which he only allowed two hits. He was responsible for 5 of the 7 victories JC registered in clinching the Eastern Division Crown that year. He came in as relief in the 7th inning against UE and promptly struck out five batters to seal the championship.
When Len wasn’t on the mound, he was in left field. His bat was formidable – hitting homeruns when needed. Len’s season average of .444 helped to place him on the STAC All Star Team. STAC coaches lauded his pitching feats and, along with JC Coach George Miner, compared him to a young Warren Spahn. Even though he had one more year to go, he was being pursued by major league scouts.
Len’s senior year followed the same pattern – having a 16 strike out game, a 9 strike out game, and a no-hitter. JC was able to beat powerhouses Binghamton North and Vestal for another STAC title under Len’s prowess. Again, he was an All Star and an MVP.
After playing ball for one year at Syracuse University, and being sought after by the Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees, Len signed with the Yankees, ending his college career.
In 1957, Len played for Kearney and Greenville, both Yankees affiliates, winning 2 games with an ERA of 3.29 and an average of .400. He went on to play in Nebraska, striking out 21 players. Little did he know at the time that he had suffered a serious injury to his pitching arm, ending his professional career.
When Len settled his family in Glens Falls, NY and his arm had sufficiently healed, he played five years of semi-pro ball in the Middletown and Elmira areas. Len established an insurance business in Glen Falls and in his free time successfully coached the Senior league to several championships at Pine Bush.
In his retirement, he is still athletically active in golf, skiing and basketball.
The Johnson City Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to welcome a dominant pitcher and outstanding all-around athlete, Mr. Leonard Biles from the Johnson City High School Class of 1955.