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  #1  
Old Mar 28th 2007, 6:26 pm
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Player Bio March 28th: Hack Wilson

Going along with the "This day In Cubs History", I figured I'd contribute with a daily player boi of former and cirrent Cubs. Hall of Famers seems like a great way to start...

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Hack Wilson
Lewis Robert Wilson

Born: April 26, 1900, in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Died: November 23, 1948, in Baltimore, Maryland

ML Debut: 9/29/1923 vs. Brooklyn Robins, Ebbets Field
Primary Position: Center Fielder
Bats: R Throws: R

Played For: New York Giants (1923-1925), Chicago Cubs (1926-1931), Brooklyn Dodgers (1932-1934), Philadelphia Phillies (1934)
Primary Team: Chicago Cubs


Post-Season: 1924 World Series, 1929 World Series

Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee in 1979, Player

Bio
Hack Wilson's career was relatively short, much like his stature, but he packed a wallop in his prime. A winner of four home run titles while with the Cubs, his 1930 season still inspires awe - 191 RBI (the all-time major league record), 56 home runs (a National League record for 68 years) and a .356 batting average.

Wilson was a true rags-to-riches story. He grew up in the Pennsylvania steel mill town of Ellwood City. Although only 5'6" tall, he weighed 195 pounds, mostly muscle, and had an 18" neck but only size-6 shoes. One sports writer wrote that he was built along the lines of a beer keg, and not unfamiliar with its contents.

During his career, Hack Wilson played for the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies. Wilson eclipsed the 100-RBI mark in 6 seasons. He set the National League single-season record for home runs with 56 in 1930, a record that stood until 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both surpassed it, with 70 and 66 respectively.

Arguably, Wilson's 1930 season was the best ever by a hitter. In addition to hitting 56 home runs, leading the league with 105 walks, and boasting a batting average of .356, he drove in 191 runs, a mark that remains one of the most untouchable MLB records. (For years, record books gave the total as 190, until research in 1999 showed that an RBI credited by an official scorer to Charlie Grimm actually belonged to Wilson.) He recorded that total without hitting a grand slam. For comparison, when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs, he drove in 137 runs.

In one game, Wilson was at bat and Bill Klem was the plate umpire. A close pitch went by and Klem called, "Strike!" Wilson said, "Strike? Bill, you sure missed that one." Klem answer, "Perhaps I did, Lewis; but if I'd had your bat, I wouldn't have."

Although his career was brilliant, it was fairly short. He finished his 12 year career having played 1,348 games with a lifetime batting average of .307, 244 home runs, and 1,063 RBI. His excessive alcoholism led him to a premature death. He is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Martinsburg, WV.


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"For years, it was impossible for me to look at any round outfielder who could hit a long ball without deciding I had found myself another Hack Wilson."
— Bill Veeck

Did You Know... that "Hack" Wilson is reputed to have received his nickname because of his resemblance to internationally famous Russian weightlifter and pro wrestler George Hackenschmidt?

Career stats:
G- 1348
AB- 4706
H- 1461
2B- 266
3B- 67
HR- 244
RBI- 1063
SB- 52
BA- .307
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Old Mar 28th 2007, 6:29 pm
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I do not think we will ever see 191 RBIs again. (Not that I personal saw Hack's)
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Old Mar 28th 2007, 6:54 pm
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Nice addition, Jay! Many of us hear the names of former players, but this will help us understand why they are names we still hear about!
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