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Chief Wilson


Chief Wilson - John Owen Wilson was born August 21, 1883, in Bertram, Texas. Wilson possessed a rifle-like arm, beginning his career as a right-handed pitcher with independent teams before hooking up in 1905 as an outfielder with Austin of the Texas League. In 1907, while playing for Des Moines of the Western League, Wilson batted .323 in 50 games. In 1907, the Western League's best pitcher was Babe Adams who joined the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of the season. Adams told Pirate owner Barney Dreyfuss that Wilson was the one batter he couldn't get out. Babe Adams said: "I told Mr. Dreyfuss about this Wilson fellow playing for Des Moines. I have a lot of respect for Wilson, not only as a hitter, but as a fielder, plus he has a tremendous arm." The Pirates promptly signed Wilson and installed him as their regular right fielder for the 1908 season. At the Pirates 1908 pre-season Bar-B-Que bash held at Manager Fred Clarke's ranch in Winfield, Kansas, Wilson impressed Clarke with his ability to handle a lariat. Manager Clarke immediately proceeded to nickname Wilson "Chief" not for having Indian blood, but for looking like the "Chief of the Texas Rangers." In 1908, "Chief" Wilson's rookie season, Wilson hit a weak .227 in 144 games, with 102 of his 120 hits being singles. However, it was Wilson's fine fielding, especially his rifle arm in right that kept him in the line-up. "Chief" Wilson routinely threw out baserunners, regularly recording 20 assists a season; in fact Wilson led the league with 34 assists in 1914. In 1909, Wilson played every game for the pennant-winning Pirates, raising his average to .272 with 22 doubles and 12 triples. In 1910, it was about the same, batting .276 with 31 extra-base hits. Wilson came into his own as a hitter in 1911, batting an even .300, finishing in the top ten in doubles (34), triples (12) and home runs (12), also led the league with 107 RBI. Wilson's 12 home runs that season was the Pirates team record at the time. Wilson's 1912 season was similar to 1911, as he batted exactly .300, except that many of his doubles (which dropped from 34 to 19) became triples, a record 36. That year, Wilson also hit 11 home runs, which was good for third in the league, and was second in slugging with a percentage of .513. "Chief" Wilson seemed to hit triples in streaks. He had 11 by the end of May, beginning on June 17, Wilson hit triples in five straight games. Wilson then went into a "triple" slump, hitting only three in the last 34 games. Wilson was still hitting well though, as this quote from the September 14, 1912 Pittsburgh Post attests: "Wilson attempted to triple, but tapped the pellet a trifle too hard and it floated over the right field wall." Wilson did not feast on lesser pitchers only; his 1912 "triple victims" included Pete Alexander, Mordecai Brown, Rube Marquard and Christy Mathewson.


Birth Date: November 18, 1980
Birth Location: Newport Beach, CA
Death Date: N/A
Death Location: N/A
Weight: 210 lb
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Bats: L
Throws: L
Debut Date: June 10, 2005
Final Game Date: July 28, 2015
Years Played: 11
Games Played: 445
At Bats: 29
Runs: 3
Hits: 4
Doubles: 0
Triples: 1
Home Runs: 0
RBIs: 0
Stolen Bases: 0
Base on Balls: 3
Batting Average: 0.138
Position: Pitcher

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