Wells, Willie

Willie James Wells
Born: August 10, 1908, Austin, Texas
Died: January 22, 1989, Austin, Texas
Elected to the Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 1997

The first shortstop in baseball history to combine dazzling fielding with home-run power, Willie Wells set a single-season Negro leagues record with 27 homers in 88 recorded games for the St. Louis Stars in 1926. A scrappy, intelligent player, Wells had a prolific career in Latin America, where Mexican League fans dubbed him El Diablo. He batted .320 over seven Cuban Winter League seasons while winning two home-run titles and two MVP awards. As player-manager of the Newark Eagles in the 1940s, he became known as an extraordinary leader and teacher, and several of his young players later became stars in the Majors.

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Did You Know: 
that Willie Wells is considered one of the first pro ballplayers to wear a batting helmet, fashioning a hard hat for protection after a 1942 beaning?
I didn't want to do anything but play baseball. That was my life and it was good to me. Baseball is still nothing but hit the ball and catch the ball.