George Wilson (wilsoge01)
George Washington Wilson
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1½", Weight 185 lb.
- High School Cherryville High School
- Debut April 15, 1952
- Final Game September 30, 1956
- Born August 31, 1924 in Cherryville, NC USA
- Died October 28, 1974 in Kings Mountain, NC USA
George Wilson was sixteen years old when he was signed by Herb Pennock of the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent before the 1942 season. The Red Sox assigned the left-handed hitting outfielder to the Owensboro Oilers of the Kitty League, where he hit for a .316 average in 48 games. Then with the Statesville Owls of the North Carolina State League, he appeared in 63 games, hitting .335. He topped off the 1942 season with the class C Canton Terriers of the Middle Atlantic League, hitting .333 in 5 outings.
All of this hard work and the good numbers had to be put on hold for a few seasons as Wilson was inducted into the military in April of 1943 and served with the United States Army in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. George was back in time for spring training in 1946 and landed with the Durham Bulls of the Carolina League, where he hit .327 with 16 home runs in 123 games.
By this time, George Washington Wilson was such an ardent admirer of Ted Williams that he came to be called "Ted" or "Teddy" by his teammates. George even adapted Williams' batting stance and the two became friendly. In spring training in 1947, George boasted he would out-hit him when they became teammates in Boston. In the next five seasons (1947-1951), George had what would be career years for most players in three out of the five seasons and it looked as if he might finally get to be the "Thumper"'s teammate soon.
There seemed to be no room on the 1951 Red Sox for George; despite his good year with the Birmingham Barons in 1951, in which he hit at a .325 pace with 29 home runs and 112 RBIs, the Red Sox let him get away to the Chicago White Sox in the 1951 Rule V Draft.
Wilson made his major league debut on opening day in 1952 for the Chicago White Sox. He appeared in just 8 games total, and was sold to the New York Giants in early May, for $25,000. George did finish with a league-leading 48 pinch-hitting appearances in 1952, but hit just .231 with 2 home runs in 126 AB in 70 games overall.
George returned to the minor leagues in 1953 after appearing just briefly with the Giants and was a .300 plus hitter for three straight years from 1953-1955 with the Minneapolis Millers. The American Association leader in homers with 34 in 1953, he hit three in one game in consecutive innings. George was back with the Giants in 1956 as exclusively a left-handed bat off the bench before concluding with the New York Yankees that year. His last appearance as a major leaguer came in Game 1 of the 1956 World Series when he pinch-hit for Whitey Ford and was struck out by Sal Maglie of the Brooklyn Dodgers. This ended Wilson's three-year major league run with a career .191 average, .246 OBP and .273 slugging percentage in 145 games, all far below his minor league level of performance.
George spent 1957-1958 with the Denver Bears and 1959 with the Rochester Red Wings. He spent 1960-1961 managing the Shelby Colonels and the Statesville Owls of the class D Western Carolina League. He returned to Denver in 1962 as a pinch-hitter and coach.
After his active years were finished, George spent several years scouting for the New York Yankees organization.
During his 16-year minor league career, George put up some good numbers. He finished with a .311 hitting average and busted 275 home runs in 6,105 at-bats while appearing in 1,784 games. After baseball, George moved back to his native Cherryville, NC. He worked for the Klutz Machine and Foundry company until his death on October 29, 1974 at the age of 49 in Kings Mountain, NC.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1960||Shelby Colonels||Western Carolina League||42-53||5th||none|
|1961||Statesville Owls||Western Carolina League||63-39||2nd||Los Angeles Angels||Lost in 1st round|
See also: Baseball Players of the 1950s