Lewis Robert "Hack" Wilson
(April 26, 1900 –
November 23, 1948)
was an American center fielder in Major League Baseball from to .
He is best known for his record-setting 191-RBI
season of . He was inducted into
the Baseball Hall of
Fame in 1979.
grew up in the Pennsylvania steel mill town of
Although 5'6" tall, he weighed 195 pounds,
and had an 18" neck and size-6 shoes. One sports writer wrote that
he was built along the lines of a beer keg, and not wholly
unfamiliar with its contents.
Before Wilson started in baseball he attended school for five years
before dropping out in sixth grade. Once he gave up on school
Wilson went on to live off of a weekly salary of $4 at a local
print shop. These events led him to seek better employment thus
landing him on a semiprofessional baseball team. Not long after this he
was picked up by the Blue Sox, a minor league professional team in
his first professional appearance he had the misfortune of breaking
a leg. This would cause Wilson to go from playing everyday catcher
to his common Major League fielding position of center field.
During his career, Wilson played for the New York Giants
(1923-25), Chicago Cubs
(1926-31), Brooklyn Dodgers
(1932-34) and Philadelphia Phillies
eclipsed the 100-RBI mark 6 times in his career.
Wilson's 1930 season is considered one of the finest in baseball
history. Wilson stroked 56 home runs, drove in 191 runs, and walked
105 times, all while batting .356. The 191 RBIs he had in 1930 are
a record that still stands today. (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
In one game, Wilson was at bat and Bill
was the plate umpire. A close pitch went by and Klem
!" Wilson said,
"Strike? Bill, you sure missed that one." Klem answered, "Perhaps I
did, Lewis; but if I'd had your bat, I wouldn't have."
He finished his 12 year career having played 1,348 games with a
lifetime batting average
244 home runs, and 1,063 RBI
. He died in 1948,
possibly due to alcoholism complications. He is buried in
Rosedale Cemetery in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
There is a street in Martinsburg called
Hack Wilson Way, in honor of Wilson.
- "HACK WILSON", MAS Ultra, October 2001.
- "Historical Player Stats", MLB.com
- "Chalk up another RBI for Hack Wilson", Baseball Digest,
- Clifton Blue Parker, Fouled Away: The Baseball Tragedy of
Hack Wilson (McFarland
& Company, 2000) ISBN 0786408642