Hack Wilson

Lewis Robert "Hack" Wilson (April 26, 1900 – November 23, 1948) was an American Major League Baseball player who played 12 seasons for the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.[1] Despite his diminutive stature, he was one of the most accomplished power hitters in the game during the late 1920s and early 1930s.[2] His 1930 season with the Cubs is widely considered one of the most memorable individual single-season hitting performances in baseball history. Highlights included 56 home runs, the National League record for 68 years; and 191 runs batted in, a mark yet to be surpassed. "For a brief span of a few years", wrote a sportswriter of the day, "this hammered down little strongman actually rivaled the mighty Ruth."[3]

While Wilson's combativeness and excessive alcohol consumption made him one of the most colorful sports personalities of his era,[4] his drinking and fighting undoubtedly contributed to a premature end to his athletic career and, ultimately, his premature death.[5][6] He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.[7]

Hack Wilson
Hack Wilson Goudey card
Outfielder
Born: April 26, 1900
Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Died: November 23, 1948 (aged 48)
Baltimore, Maryland
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 29, 1923, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
August 25, 1934, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Batting average.307
Home runs244
Runs batted in1,063
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1979
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Baseball career

Early life and minor leagues

Lewis Robert Wilson was born April 26, 1900, in the Pennsylvania steel mill town of Ellwood City, north of Pittsburgh.[2] His mother, Jennie Kaughn, 16, was an unemployed drifter from Philadelphia; his father, Robert Wilson, 24, was a steel worker. His parents never married; both were heavy drinkers, and in 1907 his mother died of appendicitis at the age of 24.[8]

In 1916 Lewis left school to take a job at a locomotive factory, swinging a sledge hammer for four dollars a week.[2] Although only five feet six inches tall, he weighed 195 pounds with an 18-inch neck, and feet that fit into size-five-and-one-half shoes. Sportswriter Shirley Povich later observed that he was "built along the lines of a beer keg, and was not wholly unfamiliar with its contents."[9] While his unusual physique was considered an oddity at the time,[10] his large head, tiny feet, short legs and broad, flat face are now recognized as hallmarks of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.[11][12]

In 1921 Wilson moved to Martinsburg, West Virginia, to join the Martinsburg Mountaineers of the Class "D" Blue Ridge League.[13] After breaking his leg while sliding into home plate during his first professional game, he was moved from the catcher's position to the outfield.[14] In 1922 he met Virginia Riddleburger, a 34-year-old office clerk; they married the following year.[15] In 1923, playing for the "B" division Portsmouth Truckers, he led the Virginia League in hitting with a .388 batting average.[13][16] Late in the season, New York Giants manager John McGraw purchased his contract from Portsmouth for $10,500.[1]

New York Giants

At the age of 23, Wilson made his major league debut with the Giants on September 29, 1923 and became the starting left fielder the following season.[17] By mid-July he was ranked second in the National League (NL) in hitting.[18] He ended the season with a .295 average, 10 home runs, and 57 runs batted in (RBIs) as New York won the NL pennant.[1] In the 1924 World Series he averaged only .233 in a seven-game loss to the Washington Senators.[19]

Multiple stories exist to explain the origin of Wilson's nickname: By one account, a New York newspaper held a nicknaming contest; the winning entry was "Hack" because he reminded many fans of another stocky athlete, the popular wrestler Georg Hackenschmidt.[2] In another version, McGraw is said to have remarked that Wilson's physique was reminiscent of a "hack" (slang for taxicab in that era). Giants teammate Bill Cunningham claimed that the nickname was based on Wilson's resemblance to Hack Miller, an outfielder with the Chicago Cubs. The New York Times printed the first documented usage of "Hack" on June 10, 1924.[20]

Early in the 1925 season Wilson hit the longest home run on record at Ebbets Field against the Brooklyn Robins,[21] but fell into a slump in May, and was replaced in left field by Irish Meusel.[22] On July 2 he hit two home runs in one inning, tying Ken Williams' major league record set in 1922,[23] but his hitting slump continued. In August McGraw told reporters that he had "... made the mistake of rushing [Wilson] along,"[24] and sent him to the Giants' minor league affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association. At season's end, a front office oversight—or possibly, deliberate inaction[25]—left him unprotected on the Toledo roster, and the last-place Chicago Cubs acquired him on waivers.[26] "They let go the best outfielder I ever played alongside", said Giants right fielder Ross Youngs, "and they're going to regret it."[27]

During the 1925 World Series — between the Senators and the Pittsburgh Pirates — Wilson's son, Robert, was born.[28]

Glory years with the Cubs

Hack Wilson plaque
Plaque of Hack Wilson at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Wilson regained his form as the Cubs' center fielder in 1926, and he quickly became a favorite of Chicago fans.[29] On May 24 he hit the center field scoreboard with one of the longest home runs in Wrigley Field history as the Cubs came from behind to defeat the Boston Braves.[30] Later that evening he made news again when he was arrested during a police raid of a Prohibition-era speakeasy while trying to escape through the rear window,[31] and was fined one dollar.[32] He ended the season with a league-leading 21 home runs along with 36 doubles, 109 RBIs, a .321 batting average, and a .406 on-base percentage.[1] The Cubs improved to fourth place, and Wilson ended the year ranked fifth in voting for the NL's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award.[33]

Another strong performance followed in 1927 as Wilson once again led the league in home runs. Although the Cubs were in first place heading into the final month of the season, the team faltered and again finished fourth.[34] Wilson posted a .318 average with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs,[1] and led NL outfielders with 400 putouts.[35] He led the NL in home runs for a third consecutive year in 1928 with 31, along with 120 RBIs and a .313 average as the Cubs improved to third place.[1]

Wilson had a combative streak and sometimes initiated fights with opposing players and fans. On June 22, 1928, a near-riot broke out in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field against the St. Louis Cardinals when Wilson jumped into the box seats to attack a heckling fan.[36] An estimated 5,000 spectators swarmed the field before police could separate the combatants and restore order.[36] The fan sued Wilson for $20,000, but a jury ruled in his favor.[37] The following year he took offense at a remark by Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ray Kolp, and – upon reaching first base after hitting a single – he charged into the Reds dugout, punching Kolp several times before they could be separated.[38] Later that evening at the train station, Wilson exchanged words and blows with Cincinnati player Pete Donohue.[38] In late 1929 he signed a contract to fight Art Shires of the Chicago White Sox in a boxing match,[39] but reneged after Cubs president William Veeck, Sr. enlisted Hack's wife Virginia to dissuade him,[40] and then Shires lost a fight to George Trafton of the Chicago Bears. There was nothing to gain, Wilson said, by fighting a defeated boxer.[41]

Wilson's "penchant for festivities" is also well documented. Biographer Clifton Blue Parker described him as "... the Roaring '20s epitome of a baseball player, primed for an age of American excess ... at a time when baseball was America's favorite sport."[42] His love of drinking and partying did not endear him to Cubs owner William Wrigley, who abhorred alcohol consumption. (Wilson always insisted that he never played drunk; "hung over, yes; drunk, no."[32]) Manager Joe McCarthy worked hard to shield Wilson from Wrigley, and to keep him on an even keel. "Better than any other manager", wrote sportswriter Frank Graham, "Joe understood Hack, made allowances for him when he failed, and rewarded him with praise when he did well. Joe could be strict and stern with his players ... but he never was with Hack, and Hack repaid him by playing as he never had before, nor would again."[43]

In 1929 Wilson hit .345 with 39 home runs and a league-record 159 RBIs.[1][2] He and new teammate Rogers Hornsby (who also contributed 39 home runs) led the Cubs to their first NL pennant in eleven years. In the World Series against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, Wilson's .471 hitting performance was eclipsed by two fielding errors at Shibe Park. Though trailing the Series two games to one, the Cubs were leading by a score of 8–0 in the fourth game when the Athletics mounted a 10-run rally in the seventh inning. Wilson lost two fly balls in the sun; the second, with two runners on base, led to an inside-the-park home run by Mule Haas as the Athletics won 10–8.[44][45] After the game, McCarthy reportedly told a boy asking for a souvenir baseball, "Come back tomorrow and stand behind Wilson, and you'll be able to pick up all the balls you want!"[46][47] The Athletics won again the next day to take the Series in five games.[48]

1930 peak

Wilson's 1930 season, aided by a lively ball wound with special Australian wool, is considered one of the best single-season hitting performances in baseball history.[2][49] By the middle of July he had accumulated 82 RBIs. In August he hit 13 home runs and 53 RBIs, and by September 15 he had reached 176 RBIs, breaking Lou Gehrig's major league record established three years earlier.[2] He ended the season with 190, along with an NL-record 56 home runs, .356 batting average, .454 on-base percentage, and league-leading .723 slugging percentage.[1] He was unofficially voted the NL's most "useful" player by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (which did not inaugurate its official MVP award until 1931).[50]

In 1999 the Commissioner of Baseball officially increased Wilson's 1930 RBI total to 191 after a box score analysis by baseball historian Jerome Holtzman revealed that Charlie Grimm had been mistakenly credited with an RBI actually driven home by Wilson during the second game of a doubleheader on July 28.[51] Wilson's 191 RBIs remains one of baseball's most enduring records; only Gehrig (184) and Hank Greenberg (183) ever came close, and there have been no serious challenges in the last 75 years. (The best recent effort was 165 by Manny Ramirez in 1999.)[52]

Reds catcher Clyde Sukeforth asserted that Wilson should have been credited with an additional home run in 1930 as well. "He hit one in Cincinnati one day", he said, "way up in the seats, hit it so hard that it bounced right back onto the field. The umpire had a bad angle on it and ruled that it had hit the screen and bounced back. I was sitting in the Cincinnati bullpen, and of course, we weren't going to say anything. But Hack really hit 57 that year."[53] Wilson's official total of 56 stood as the NL record until the 1998 season, when it was broken by Sammy Sosa (66) and Mark McGwire (70).[54]

Decline

Wilson's success in the 1930 season served only to fuel his drinking habits, and in 1931 he reported to spring training 20 pounds overweight.[2] In addition, the NL responded to the prodigious offensive statistics of the previous year (the only season, other than 1894, in which the league as a whole batted over .300[55]) by introducing a heavier ball with raised stitching to allow pitchers to gain a better grip and throw sharper curveballs.[56] Wilson complained that the new Cubs manager, former teammate Rogers Hornsby, did not allow him to "swing away" as much as Joe McCarthy had.[57] He hit his 200th career home run at Ebbets Field on June 18 — only the fourth player ever to do so, behind Ruth, Cy Williams, and Hornsby[58] — but then fell into a protracted slump, and was benched in late May.[59] By late August Wrigley publicly expressed his desire to trade him.[60] On September 6 he was suspended without pay for the remainder of the season after a fight with reporters aboard a train in Cincinnati.[61] He was hitting .261 with only 13 home runs (his 1930 production during August alone) at the time.[1]

In December 1931, the Cubs traded Wilson, along with Bud Teachout, to the St. Louis Cardinals for Burleigh Grimes.[1] Less than a month later, the Cardinals sent him to the Brooklyn Dodgers for minor league outfielder Bob Parham and $25,000.[1] Wilson hit .297 with 23 home runs and 123 RBIs for Brooklyn in 1932. He began 1933 with a ninth-inning game-winning pinch-hit inside-the-park grand slam home run at Ebbets Field—the first pinch-hit grand slam in Dodger history, and only the third inside-the-park pinch-hit grand slam in MLB history.[62] By season's end his offensive totals had dropped substantially, and he was hitting .262 when the Dodgers released him mid-season in 1934.[1][63] The Philadelphia Phillies signed him immediately, but after just two hits in 20 at bats he was released again a month later.[64] After a final season with the Albany Senators of the Class "A" New York–Pennsylvania League, Wilson retired at the age of 35.[13]

Career statistics

In a 12-year major league career, Wilson played in 1,348 games and accumulated 1,461 hits in 4,760 at-bats for a .307 career batting average and a .395 on-base percentage. He hit 244 home runs and batted in 1,063 runs, led the NL in home runs four times, and surpassed 100 RBIs six times. Defensively, he finished his career with a .965 fielding percentage.[1]

Life after baseball

Hack Wilson's gravestone, Martinsburg, WV
Hack Wilson's grave marker, located in Rosedale Cemetery in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Wilson returned to Martinsburg where he opened a pool hall, but encountered financial problems due to a failed sporting goods business venture, and then a rancorous divorce from Virginia.[2][65] By 1938 he was working as a bartender near Brooklyn's Ebbets Field where he sang for drinks, but had to quit when customers became too abusive.[66] A night club venture in suburban Chicago was another financial failure.[67] In 1944 he took a job as a good will ambassador for a professional basketball team in Washington, D.C., where he lamented that fans remembered his two dropped fly balls in the 1929 World Series far more vividly than his 56 home runs and 191 RBIs in 1930.[68] Unable to find work in professional baseball, he moved to Baltimore where he worked as a tool checker in an airplane manufacturing plant and later as a laborer for the City of Baltimore. When municipal authorities realized who he was, he was made the manager of a Baltimore public swimming pool.[69]

On October 4, 1948 Wilson was discovered unconscious after a fall in his home.[70] Though the accident did not appear serious at first, pneumonia and other complications developed and he died of internal hemorrhaging on November 23, 1948, at the age of 48.[4]

Wilson — once the highest-paid player in the National League[71] — died penniless; his son, Robert, refused to claim his remains. NL President Ford Frick finally sent money to cover his funeral expenses.[72][73] His gray burial suit was donated by the undertaker.[71] In marked contrast to Babe Ruth's funeral, which had been attended by thousands just three months earlier, only a few hundred people were present for Wilson's services.[74] He was buried in Rosedale Cemetery in the town where he made his professional playing debut, Martinsburg, West Virginia.[74]

Ten months later Joe McCarthy organized a second, more complete memorial service, attended by Kiki Cuyler, Charlie Grimm, Nick Altrock and other players from the Cubs and the Martinsburg team (by then renamed the Blue Sox). A granite tombstone was unveiled, with the inscription, "One of Baseball's Immortals, Lewis R. (Hack) Wilson, Rests Here."[75][76]

One week before his death, Wilson gave an interview to CBS Radio which was reprinted in Chicago newspapers. In 1949 Charlie Grimm, the Cubs' new manager, posted a framed excerpt from that interview in the Cubs clubhouse, where it remains.[3] It reads, in part:

Talent isn't enough. You need common sense and good advice. If anyone tries to tell you different, tell them the story of Hack Wilson. ... Kids in and out of baseball who think because they have talent they have the world by the tail. It isn't so. Kids, don't be too big to accept advice. Don't let what happened to me happen to you.[77]

In 1979 Wilson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.[78] A Martinsburg street is named Hack Wilson Way in his honor,[79][80] and the access road to a large city park within his home town, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, is known as Hack Wilson Drive.[81]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Hack Wilson statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Holway, John (June 1996). Hack Wilson Belted Homers, Hecklers with Equal Gusto. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Parker 2000, p. 195.
  4. ^ a b "Death Overtakes Hack Wilson Of Home Run Fame". The Evening Independent. Associated Press. November 24, 1948. p. 19. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  5. ^ Dolgan, Bob (March 1978). Former Teammates Recall Hack Wilson. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  6. ^ Drooz, Al (October 1974). ... But Memories of Hack Wilson Fade Away. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  7. ^ "Hack Wilson at The Baseball Hall of Fame". baseballhall.org. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  8. ^ Parker 2000, p. 7.
  9. ^ Connery, Floyd (2003). Baseball's Most Wanted II: The Top 10 Book of More Bad Hops, Screwball Players, and Other Oddities. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books. p. 58. ISBN 1-57488-362-3. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Parker 2000, p. 12.
  11. ^ Collier, Gene. No One Stacks Up to Hack. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette archive Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  12. ^ Wickersham's Conscience. Wordpress.com archive Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c "Hack Wilson minor league statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
  14. ^ Parker 2000, p. 16.
  15. ^ Parker 2000, pp. 16, 22.
  16. ^ "1923 Virginia League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  17. ^ "Hack Wilson Cost The Giants Price Of A Bag Of Peanuts". Rochester Evening Journal. King Features Syndicate. September 11, 1924. p. 8. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  18. ^ "Hack Wilson Is The Old-Style Type Of Bull-Necked Slugger". The Washington Reporter. July 17, 1924. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  19. ^ "1924 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  20. ^ Parker 2000, p. 29.
  21. ^ "Homers By Hack Wilson And Kelly Play Important Part In Giants Win Over Robins". The Lewiston Daily Sun. April 20, 1925. p. 9. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  22. ^ "Irish Meusel In Giants' Outfield". The Norwalk Hour. May 30, 1925. p. 12. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  23. ^ "Hack Wilson Ties Record With Two Home Runs In One Inning". Reading Eagle. Associated Press. July 2, 1925. p. 18. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  24. ^ Parker 2000, p. 39.
  25. ^ Parker 2000, pp. 42-3.
  26. ^ Dexter, Charles (June 1956). Will They Beat 56 In '56?. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  27. ^ Parker 2000, p. 44.
  28. ^ Parker 2000, p. 47.
  29. ^ "Take Hack For Your Example". The Toledo News-Bee. May 19, 1926. p. 14. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  30. ^ "Cubs Overcome Braves". Reading Eagle. May 24, 1926. p. 14. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  31. ^ "Hack Wilson Found In "Beer Parlor" Is Taken to Lock Up". The Telegraph-Herald. INS. May 24, 1926. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  32. ^ a b Parker 2000, p. 53.
  33. ^ "1926 National League Most Valuable Player Award". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  34. ^ "1927 Chicago Cubs". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  35. ^ "1927 National League Fielding Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  36. ^ a b "Cubs And Cards Divide Twin Bill". The Telegraph-Herald and Times-Tribune. Associated Press. June 22, 1928. p. 3. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  37. ^ "Hack Wilson Was Great Baseball Player But Headache To Managers". The Portsmouth Times. Associated Press. November 24, 1948. p. 11. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  38. ^ a b "Ball Players In Fistic Encounter". Ottawa Citizen. Associated Press. July 5, 1929. p. 3. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  39. ^ "Hack Wilson Signs To Meet Art Shires". The Toledo News-Bee. December 14, 1929. p. 12. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  40. ^ Parker 2000, pp. 90–92.
  41. ^ "Baseball Solons Breathe Easier Since Shires' Rout". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. December 18, 1929. p. 34. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  42. ^ Parker 2000, pp. 53–55.
  43. ^ Parker 2000, pp. 53–54.
  44. ^ "1929 World Series Game 4". Baseball Reference. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  45. ^ Boone, Robert; Grunska, Gerald (January 1979). Hack Wilson: He Was One Of A Kind. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  46. ^ "On cue, Drew caps miraculous Sox rally". Ian Browne. MLB.com. October 17, 2008. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2009.
  47. ^ "Comeback among October's best". MLB.com. October 17, 2008. Retrieved October 2, 2009.
  48. ^ "1929 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  49. ^ "League by League Totals for Batting Average". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  50. ^ "Hack Wilson Is Picked as Most Useful Player". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. October 8, 1930. p. 2. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  51. ^ "Wilson's record increases to 191". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. June 23, 1999. p. 5. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  52. ^ "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Runs Batted In". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  53. ^ Parker 2000, pp. 113–114.
  54. ^ "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Home Runs". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  55. ^ National League year-by-year batting averages. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
  56. ^ "National League Changes Ball To Curtail Slugging". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. February 4, 1931. p. 2. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  57. ^ "Hack Wilson Raps Hornsby's Tactics". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. August 31, 1938. p. 6. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  58. ^ Parker 2000, p. 134.
  59. ^ "Hack Wilson Benched For Light Hitting". The Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal. United Press International. May 25, 1931. p. 9. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  60. ^ "Cubs To Trade Hack Wilson". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. August 31, 1931. p. 2. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  61. ^ "Wilson Loses Fielding Job After Brawl". The Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal. INS. September 9, 1931. p. 9. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  62. ^ Hack Wilson BaseballLibrary.com Archived August 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 23, 2011
  63. ^ "Hack Wilson Given Gate By Brooklyn Club Solons". Rochester Evening Journal. INS. August 9, 1934. p. 26. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  64. ^ "Phils Release Hack Wilson". Herald-Journal. Associated Press. September 6, 1934. p. 7. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  65. ^ Parker 2000, p. 177.
  66. ^ "Hack Wilson Dies; Set Homer Record". The News and Courier. INS. November 24, 1948. p. 10. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  67. ^ "Hack Wilson Becomes Night Club Impresario". The Evening Independent. Associated Press. August 11, 1939. p. 12. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  68. ^ "Where's Hack Wilson? Very Much On Deck". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. October 26, 1944. p. 2. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  69. ^ "Hack Wilson Now Managing City Swim Pool". Schenectady Gazette. Associated Press. July 22, 1948. p. 29. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  70. ^ "Hack Wilson Is Hospitalized". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. October 5, 1948. p. 19. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  71. ^ a b Berkow, I (September 5, 1998): On Baseball; Hack Wilson's Lesson Still Valid. New York Times archive. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  72. ^ "Last Rites Held For Hack Wilson". The Day. Associated Press. November 27, 1948. p. 8. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  73. ^ Steadman, John (February 1990). The Sad Demise of Home Run King Hack Wilson. Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  74. ^ a b "Services Held For Hack Wilson". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. November 28, 1948. p. 28. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  75. ^ Parker 2000, p. 194.
  76. ^ Photos of Wilson's Art Deco-style grave monument can be viewed here. (A replica of his Hall of Fame plaque was added to the reverse side in 1982.) thedeadballera.com. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  77. ^ Parker 2000, p. 2.
  78. ^ "Hack Wilson, Giles gain baseball Hall of Fame". The Montreal Gazette. March 8, 1979. p. 21. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  79. ^ Umstead, M (May 11, 2012). Martinsburg's heritage includes start of Hack Wilson's Hall of Fame career. The Herald Mail archive Retrieved May 24, 2012
  80. ^ West Virginia Department of Education web site Retrieved May 24, 2012
  81. ^ Borough of Ellwood City web site Archived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved May 24, 2012

Further reading

  • "Hack Wilson". MAS Ultra. October 2001. Subscription required.
  • "Chalk up another RBI for Hack Wilson". MAS Ultra. October 1999. Subscription required.
  • Parker, Clifton B. (2000). Fouled Away: The Baseball Tragedy of Hack Wilson (Softcover ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-0864-2.

External links

Preceded by
Freddie Lindstrom
Hitting for the cycle
June 23, 1930
Succeeded by
Chick Hafey
1927 Chicago Cubs season

The 1927 Chicago Cubs season was the 56th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 52nd in the National League and the 12th at Wrigley Field (the first in which the park was officially named Wrigley Field). The Cubs finished fourth in the National League with a record of 85–68.

1929 World Series

The 1929 World Series featured the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago Cubs. The Athletics beat the Cubs decisively in five games.

This was the Series of the famous "Mack Attack" (so called in honor of longtime A's owner-manager Connie Mack), in which the Athletics overcame an eight-run deficit by scoring 10 runs in the home half of the seventh in Game 4 (before two straight strikeouts by Pat Malone ended it) to snatch a 10–8 victory from the jaws of a defeat which would have evened the Series at two games apiece. The Cubs were further humiliated in the middle of that record rally when center fielder Hack Wilson lost Mule Haas's fly ball in the sun for a fluke three-run inside-the-park home run, bringing the A's to within a run at 8–7. It was the last occurrence of an inside-the-park home run in a World Series game until Game 1 of the 2015 World Series.

1930 Chicago Cubs season

The 1930 Chicago Cubs season was the 59th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 55th in the National League and the 15th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were managed by Joe McCarthy and Rogers Hornsby for the final four games of the season. They finished in second place in Major League Baseball's National League with a record of 90–64. In the peak year of the lively ball era, the Cubs scored 998 runs, third most in the majors. Future Hall of Famers Kiki Cuyler, Gabby Hartnett, and Hack Wilson led the offense.

1930 Major League Baseball season

The 1930 Major League Baseball season.

1932 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1932 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season the franchise was officially known as the Dodgers, with the name making its first appearance on some of the team's jerseys. The Dodgers nickname had in use since the 1890s and was used interchangeably with other nicknames in media reports, particularly "Robins" in reference to longtime manager Wilbert Robinson. With Robinson's retirement after the 1931 season and the arrival of Max Carey, the nickname "Robins" was no longer used. The team wound up finishing the season in third place.

1933 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1933 Brooklyn Dodgers finished in 6th place. After the season, manager Max Carey was fired and replaced by coach Casey Stengel.

1934 Brooklyn Dodgers season

Casey Stengel took over as manager for the 1934 Brooklyn Dodgers, but the team still finished in 6th place.

1979 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1979 followed the system in place since 1978, except that players who appeared on fewer than 5% of BBWAA ballots would now no longer be eligible in future elections.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Willie Mays.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Warren Giles and Hack Wilson.

Boom-Boom Beck

Walter William "Boom-Boom" Beck (October 16, 1904 – May 7, 1987) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played twelve seasons in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Beck was one of three pitchers to lead the National League in games started (35) in 1933. In 265 career games, Beck had a 38–69 won–loss total with 100 games started and 94 games finished in 1,034 innings pitched.

His nickname, Boom-Boom, was earned while pitching at Baker Bowl against the Phillies in 1934. He allowed numerous line drives that struck the outfield wall, each time making a booming sound. Manager Casey Stengel sought to remove Beck from the game. Frustrated with his performance and for being removed, Beck threw the baseball at the outfield wall, where it hit and made another booming sound. Outfielder Hack Wilson had not been paying attention; hearing the ball hit the fence and thinking that gameplay had resumed, Wilson hurriedly chased the ball down and threw it back to the infield.Beck became a pitching coach after his playing career ended, serving in that role with the Washington Senators from 1957 to 1959. He also worked as a minor league pitching instructor for the Milwaukee Braves in 1960–61.

Center fielder

A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball and softball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.

Chicago Cubs award winners and league leaders

This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Chicago Cubs professional baseball team.

List of Chicago Cubs team records

The following lists statistical records and all-time leaders as well as awards and major accomplishments for the Chicago Cubs professional baseball club of Major League Baseball. The records list the top 5 players in each category since the inception of the Cubs.

Players that are still active with the Cubs are denoted in bold.

Records updated as of August 5, 2011.

List of Major League Baseball annual runs batted in leaders

In baseball, a run batted in (RBI) is awarded to a batter for each runner who scores as a result of the batter's action, including a hit, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly, bases loaded walk, or hit by pitch. A batter is also awarded an RBI for scoring himself upon hitting a home run. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the "RBI crown" or "RBI title" each season by hitting the most runs batted in that year.

The first RBI champion in the National League (NL) was Deacon White; in the league's inaugural 1876 season, White hit 60 RBIs for the Chicago White Stockings. The American League (AL) was established in 1901, and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led that league with 125 RBIs for the Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 27-season career, Cap Anson led the NL in RBI eight times. Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner have the second- and third-most RBI titles, respectively: Ruth with six, and Wagner with five. Several players are tied for the most consecutive seasons led with three: Anson (twice), Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Ruth, Joe Medwick, George Foster, and Cecil Fielder. Notably, Matt Holliday won the NL title in 2007 by one RBI over Ryan Howard, only overtaking Howard due to his performance in the 2007 National League Wild Card tie-breaker game. Had Howard won the 2007 title, he would have led the NL in a record four consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2009. The most recent champions are Edwin Encarnación in the American League, and Nolan Arenado in the National League.

Sam Thompson was the first to set a single-season RBI record that stood for more than three seasons, hitting 166 in 1887. Thompson's title that season also represented the widest margin of victory for an RBI champion as he topped the next highest total by 62 RBIs. The single-season mark of 166 stood for over thirty years until Babe Ruth hit 171 in 1921. Ruth's mark was then broken by teammate Lou Gehrig six seasons later in 1927 when Gehrig hit 175 RBI. Finally, Hack Wilson set the current record mark of 191 RBI in 1930 with the Chicago Cubs. The all-time career RBI record holder is Hank Aaron with 2,297, 84 more than Ruth in second place. Aaron led the National League in RBI four times, never consecutively. The 1930 season when Wilson set the record saw four players hit more than 160 RBI: Wilson, Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Al Simmons. A player has batted in 160 or more runs 21 times, with 14 of these seasons occurring during the 1930s and only twice since 1940. The lowest RBI total to ever lead a major league was 49, by Deacon White in the National League's second season.

Mandy Brooks

Jonathan Joseph "Mandy" Brooks, (born Jonathan Joseph Brozek in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) (August 18, 1897 – December 6, 1976) was a right-handed outfielder in Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs.

Brooks' major-league debut came at the relatively advanced age of 27 on May 30, 1925. He went on to be a regular for the Cubs that season, playing the second-most games of any outfielder. Every one of his defensive appearances came in center field. It was a rather successful rookie campaign; Brooks trailed only future Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett for the club's home run lead by slugging 14 round-trippers, good enough to finish tenth in the entire National League in that category. Brooks was also second on the Cubs in RBI (72) and slugging percentage (.513). He finished his first season with a respectable .281 batting average.

Brooks, however, fell victim to the Cubs' acquisition of star outfielder Hack Wilson and found himself all but useless in the 1926 season. He played his final game for the Cubs on June 22 of that year, finishing his final big-league campaign with modest marks of 1 home run, a .188 batting average, and 6 RBI.

Brooks died on December 6, 1976 in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

Martinsburg, West Virginia

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, in the tip of the state's Eastern Panhandle region in the lower Shenandoah Valley. Its population was 17,687 in the 2016 census estimate, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the ninth-largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is part of the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Ray Kolp

Raymond Carl Kolp (October 1, 1894 in New Berlin, Ohio – July 29, 1967 in Cincinnati) was a professional baseball pitcher. He played all or part of 12 seasons in Major League Baseball between 1921 and 1934, playing in 1921-24 for the St. Louis Browns and 1927-34 for the Cincinnati Reds.

Sheriff Blake

John Frederick "Sheriff" Blake (September 17, 1899 – October 31, 1982), was a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1920 to 1931 and 1937. He played for the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs.

Blake appeared in more than 300 games during his career. His debut in 1920 was not an auspicious one, allowing two runs in an inning of relief for Pittsburgh in a 14-3 defeat to the Cubs.

It took Blake four years to get back to the majors after that season, his last as a Pirate. In 1924, he became a Cub, and in 1925 and 1926 he pitched often but had control issues, finishing second in the National League in walks in '25 and first the following year. Blake was the Cubs' starting pitcher on Opening Day in '26. His best season for Chicago came in 1928, when he went 17-11 with an NL-best four shutouts.

Blake had a 14-13 record the next season as the Cubs won the pennant by ten-and-a-half games over the nearest rival. He ended up being the losing pitcher in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series even though he pitched to just two batters. Both reached base in a historically bad 10-run seventh inning as the Cubs blew an 8-0 lead to the Philadelphia Athletics, losing the game at Shibe Park 10-8 and then losing the Series two days later.

An inside-the-park three-run homer by Mule Haas, which Cub outfielder Hack Wilson lost in the sun, was a big part of the comeback. Blake then replaced Art Nehf on the mound, gave up consecutive singles to future Hall of Famers Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx and was lifted. The timing of his two-batter stint stuck Blake with the loss, because he was charged with the run that put the Athletics ahead to stay.

His career lasted until 1937, when he split the season between the two St. Louis clubs, the Browns and Cardinals, but was released by both.

Blake was born in Ansted, West Virginia and he attended West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Vince Barton

Vincent David Barton (born February 1, 1908) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder for the Chicago Cubs.

Barton had a very successful rookie year for the Cubs. In only 66 games he batted .238 with 13 HRs and 50 RBIs. His 13 home runs was tied for 2nd on the team with current Hall of Famer Hack Wilson, although Wilson played in many more games than Barton. The next season would be Barton's last year in the majors as he batted .224 in 36 games with 3 homers and 15 RBIs.

Virginia League

The Virginia League was a minor league baseball affiliation which operated in Virginia and North Carolina from 1906 to 1928. It was classified as a "C" league from 1906 to 1919 and as a "B" league from 1920 to 1928.

The most famous alumni to come out of the league were World War II hero, General Frank A. Armstrong (the highest-ranking military officer to have played professional baseball), and Hall of Fame members Rick Ferrell, Chief Bender, Pie Traynor, and Hack Wilson. Chief Bender, Art Devlin, Gabby Street and Zinn Beck served as managers in the league.

BBWAA Vote
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Ford C. Frick Award
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