Hack Wilson, Former NL Home Run Champ Glad To Have Any Job
Baseball is going to begin its abbreviated season, as if anyone cares. I certainly don’t. The spoiled players and clueless owners are greedy beyond all belief.
So here is a lesson in humility for all the ballplayers complaining about their pro-rated multi-million dollar salaries and owners crying poverty.
72 years ago today Hack Wilson made the news. Here is what the original news slug says:
Baltimore, MD July 20, 1948 – EX-HERO Of BASEBALL – – Hack Wilson, the former home run king, chats with kids at the city swimming pool where he works. Municipal authorities had put him to work as a park laborer recently when he came in looking for “any kind of job.” Wilson, now 48-years-old, set the National League’s home run record of 56 in 1930 with the Chicago Cubs. AP Wirephoto
Lewis “Hack” Wilson played parts of 12 seasons from 1923 – 1934, ingloriously released by the lowly Philadelphia Phillies at the age of 34. His abbreviated career had a lot to do with his drinking problems.
Wilson still holds the all-time single season RBI record with 191 in that magical 1930 season. His earnings for the year was $22,000, the most he ever made in a season. The five foot six slugger led the league four times in home runs. It wasn’t until 1998 when steroid cheater Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs to break Wilson’s National League record.
Post-baseball, Hack was always struggling with working steadily. His many ventures into business ended in failure.
Less than five months after posing at the pool, Hack Wilson was dead at age 48. A combination of a fall at home; pneumonia setting in and other complications with internal hemorrhaging led to his demise. Wilson died broke. Wilson’s son refused to claim the body. His burial suit was donated by the funeral director. National League President Ford Frick ended up paying for the funeral.
31 years later in 1979, Wilson was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Now, modern players, please stop whining, take your money, save it and be thankful.