Huck Wilson: The star of the Chicago Cubs living the epic 1930’s | MLB

With over 40 home runs, nearly a hundred innings, and more than a third of the season still to be played, Aaron Judge is poised to complete the best season of his strong career.

still New York Yankees The slugger will have to speed up his pace to match Hack Wilson, one of the greatest and most enthusiastic hitters in Major League Baseball history and the holder of one of the sport’s most impregnable records.

Judge joined exclusive club Last month when he performed over 40 house tours by the end of July. With a strong end to the summer, the outside player could top Wilson’s career best tally of 56 home runs, set with the Chicago Cubs in 1930 when he was 30—the same age as Judge now.

But it’s impossible to imagine anyone — not the judge, not Pete Alonso, not Jose Ramirez, not a single recent hitter — threatening Wilson’s MLB record of 191 kicks. This was also achieved with the cubs 92 years ago. August 1930 was a brutal month for Hack: 113 at-bats, 45 hits, 13 home runs, 53 RBI.

Wilson finished the year with 146 points and averaged 356 hits to accompany the 191 RBI. The 56 homeowners were a National League record that held for 68 years until Mark McGuire surpassed it in 1998.

Lou Gehrig fought in the 185 rounds for the Yankees in 1931, which remains the second-highest RBI total for one season. Wilson was originally scored at 190, but a somewhat belated review determined that the RBI that should have gone to Hack was wrongly given at the time to a teammate, and his score was boost to 191 in 1999.

Leading in hordes of your teammates is an old fashioned habit now that base percentages and average runs per game tend to be lower than in the pre-war era. out of 30 the above RBI totals for one year, only five occurred after 1949, and all are in the “steroid age”. Nobody has driven in more than 150 runs since Alex Rodriguez (156) with the Yankees in 2007.

Wilson was definitely on a drug, albeit not the performance-enhancing kind. Born in steely Pennsylvania, his parents were alcoholic and Hack followed. He always insisted that he never went into the field drunk. while hanging? This was a different matter.

He once said, “I’ve never had a drink in my life on game day after 11 am.” For Clifton Blue Parker, author of Wilson’s remarkable biography, Fouled Away, “He was a fine example of a baseball player in the 1920s, primed for an era of American excess.”

Huck’s mother died of a ruptured appendix when he was seven. He dropped out of school at the age of 16 and worked 12 hours in print, then signed to the Martinsburg Blue Sox minor league in West Virginia. He suffered a broken leg on the opening day of his first professional season, which prompted him to move from hunting to field after recovering. Wilson worked as a poster seamstress at A sock factory Off-season and married at 23, to Virginia Riddleberger, a divorcee 12 years his senior.

Wilson debuted in the league with the New York Giants in 1923, earning his nickname (his real name Lewis) and drawing comparisons to a cross-town soccer player named Babe Ruth—in appearance, batting prowess and enjoyment of extracurricular activities.

His extraordinary physique has fascinated contemporary sports writers, while more recent analysts have been fascinated by it forecast It was caused by fetal alcohol syndrome. Hack was only 5 feet 6 inches tall, but heavy, with a large head, small feet, and small arms and legs. Baseball writer Lee Allen wrote in 1961 that Wilson was a comic character, “a fat goliath, a red-faced gorilla” who “looked like a severed Babe Ruth.”

Hack Wilson
Huck Wilson poses for spring training at the Chicago Cubs in Catalina Island, California. Photo: Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Acquired by the Cubs in late 1925, he thrived on the Prohibition-era hustle and bustle of Chicago, where Parker wrote, “was on friendly terms with Al Capone.” He was once arrested when the police raided a conversation. The story goes that he tried to escape through a window but got stuck in the middle of the road. Parker recounted, “When he was in line a few days later, he got into a pay match with two policemen. On charges of disorderly conduct, he was taken to the police station where the captain, a baseball fan, dropped the charges and ordered the officers to apologize.”

in early time Scout Report He is said to have described Huck as having “murderous tendencies”. Parker wrote that Wilson had drunk a Boston hotel room and paid a judgment. He punched a Cincinnati Reds shooter during a game and hit another at a train station later that night. The Chicago Tribune reported that during a game at Wrigley Field in 1928, Wilson rushed into the stands and “choked the hell out” of the clips. Wilson has been fined $100 by the National League and fan A milkmansued Hack and the Cubs for $50,000.

Although he broke 39 home runs and hit 0.345 with a 159 RBI in 1929, Wilson’s season was defined by the fouls in Game Four of the World Series that helped the Philadelphia Athletics overcome an eight-game deficit and go on to win the title.

Shocked by the errors, Wilson rebounded with his record 1930 campaign and became the highest-paid player in the National League, with an annual salary of $33,000 (equivalent to about $650,000 today). It seemed well established as the National League’s answer to Ruth from the American League, albeit with a fraction of the media attention lavished on The Babe, but his downfall was swift.

for him drinking Things got worse and he fell out with stern new player and manager, Rogers Hornsby, and was suspended after being accused of instigating a colleague who beat up a pair of reporters at a train station. He earned a home petty 13 and 61 RBI in 1931 and traded to the St Louis Cardinals, who promptly sent him to the Brooklyn Dodgers. A strong season has proven to be only a temporary return to action, and Wilson played his last major league game for the Philadelphia Phillies at the age of 34.

He returned to Martinsburg and opened a pool hall but his life fell apart. His wife filed for divorce, Accuse He suffers from a “hateful venereal disease”. He disagreed with their son. And the money is gone.

“Hack was a warm, cheerful, sweet human being, with good malt flavor and seasoned with life,” Bill Vick Jr., son of Cubs boss and team owner, recalls in Wrigleyville by Peter Golenbock.

Huck’s only problem was that he was more generous. He gave everything he had. Always. His money, the shirt off his back – little things like that. Chicago was a small town in those days. Huck’s drinking buddies, a crew of about twenty A Chicago resident, they waited for him after the game and were commuting to joints on the North Side and West Side. Hack picked up every check.”

Broken and broken, he tried watering but made fun of the customers. He found work at an aircraft factory in Baltimore, then as a gardener and escort in a pool locker room.

Wilson Benellis died of an alcohol-related illness in Baltimore at the age of 48 in 1948, three months after Ruth died of cancer. Although it was instigator In the 1979 Hall of Fame, he is remembered as much for his mistakes as for his victories.

He gave an unfortunate interview to a radio station a week before his death. Parts have been copied and framed and Spread On a wall in the Cubs Club as a cautionary tale. “There are many kids in and out of baseball who believe that just because they have some natural talent, they own the world by the tail,” Wilson said. “It is not like that. In life you need many other things besides talent. Things like good advice and common sense.”