Hack Wilson

Lewis Robert Wilson
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1979
Primary team: Chicago Cubs
Primary position: Center Fielder

Lewis R. “Hack” Wilson played in major league baseball for 12 seasons, finishing his career with a lifetime .307 average, 244 home runs and 1,063 RBIs.

Though his tenure in baseball was relatively short, he hit the ball well enough to be remembered. He captured four home run titles during his time with the Chicago Cubs. In 1929, he finished third in the league with 39, and he was just getting started.

One year later he had his best season and one of the greatest in major league history, launching 56 long balls, a National League record that stood for 68 years. He also notched 191 RBIs, still the all-time major league record, with a .356 batting average. In his season of highlights, he also had a .723 slugging percentage, and he walked 105 times.

His RBI record actually stood at 190 until later research found a run that had been attributed to Charlie Grimm actually belonged to Wilson, changing the record to 191. Wilson’s RBI total puts him ahead of fellow Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig who had 184, Hank Greenberg with 183 and Jimmie Foxx who had 175. No player has gotten within 25 RBIs of his mark since 1938. Wilson also reached his mark in 1930 without ever hitting a grand slam, and it is understood to be one of the most unreachable numbers in baseball history.

Wilson drove in more than 100 runs in six of his 12 seasons, and though he is not widely remembered for his home run records, he led the league for three consecutive seasons. Though hitting 56 home runs in a season isn’t as rare now as it once was, for more than 120 years, from 1876 to 1998, no National Leaguer outside of Wilson was able to it.

The center fielder had both 25- and 27-game hitting streaks in his career, and he once hit for the cycle. In 1927 he led the league’s outfielders with 400 putouts.

Wilson lived the life of a popular athlete and made one of baseball’s highest salaries during the years of the Depression. Though he was a very talented player, the outfielder wanted people to know that more than just talent was necessary in life in order to find success.

“There are many kids in and out of baseball who think that just because they have some natural talent, they have the world by the tail,” Wilson said. “It isn’t so. In life you need many more things besides talent. Things like good advice and common sense.”

"Hack didn’t look much like a ballplayer. He was stocky and muscular. Looked like a fire plug. Very strong. In fact, he was nicknamed after Hackenschmidt, the wrestler. "
Clyde Sukeforth

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1979
Primary Team: Chicago Cubs
Position Played: Center Fielder
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Birth year: 1900
Died: 1948, Baltimore, Maryland
Played for:
New York Giants (1923-1925)
Chicago Cubs (1926-1931)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1932-1934)
Philadelphia Phillies (1934)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
1348
At BatsAB
4760
RunsR
884
HitsH
1461
Doubles2B
266
Triples3B
67
Home RunsHR
244
RBIRBI
1063
Stolen BasesSB
52
WalksBB
674
Batting AverageBA
.307
OPSOPS
.940
On Base %OBP
.395
Slugging %SLG
.545