was the consensus favorite to be 1997's Negro League Hall of Fame inductee.However, at age 82, time was not on his
The man from Milan Tennessee was nicknamed "Wild Bill" as a teenager because of his
wildness as pitcher for the semi-pro Milan Buffaloes.The following year, 1932, he joined the Elite Giants of Nashville.
By the time the Elite Giants
had moved from Nashville to Columbus to D.C. before settling in Baltimore in 1938, Wright
had become the franchise's anchor.
...The Baltimore Afro-American reported in 1939 that "Besides being the fastest man in the league, Bill Wright, the sensational outfielder of the Baltimore Elite Giants is also the best hitter, according to statistic released Monday by Cum Posey.
Runners would never take any liberties on Wright
."Often called a Dave Parker look-a-like by Hall of Famer Monte lrvin, the switch-hitting Wright would probably have been a 40-40 man had he
played in the major leagues.
hit an incredible .488 that 1933 season. forty-eight points better than the much-publicized Josh Gibson hit that year for the Homestead Grays.After winning the Negro National League batting crown he
jumped to the jingle of Mexican pesos for the 1940 season.Down in Mexico he quickly became a superstar with batting averages well over .300, and even won the triple crown in 1943 as a member of the Mexico City Reds.
That year, this drag-bunting stud just missed the stolen base title by a single theft.A national hero in Mexico, he
was elected to their Hall of Fame in 1982, an honor he
may never receive stateside.
As an All Star, he
appeared in eight East-West games and belted out a .333 average and a slugging percentage of .407 is 27 at bats.He
fared equally well against white major leaguers, hitting .371 against power pitchers like Ewell Blackwell, Dizzy Dean, Bob Feller, Max Lanier and Bobo Newsome in postseason affairs.A frightful foe, Wright
could break down a pitcher quicker than a policeman's integration of a homicide suspect.
After a quarter of century of professional baseball, Wright
retired to Mexico to establish a popular restaurant called Bill Wright's
Dugout in Aquacalinetes.This fleet man who was once the Jesse Owens of black baseball, lived in his
last years confined to a wheelchair.He
was a gentle man, with a firm handshake.Thc ever-smiling Wright, known for his
competitive temperament as a player, was invariably gracious in his
greeted all comers with a big smile that blasted through his
trimmed goateed white beard, as his
eyes peeked with a twinkle beneath the sombrero he
Swift and powerful, always a threat to win a game, Wright
will be missed by his
former teammates and baseball fans, in both his
homeland and adopted home of Mexico.Most importantly, though, he
will be missed by future generations of fans if he
is not recognized by Cooperstown's elites for his
contributions to our national pastime.The time has come for Wright
to show his
trade in another time, another place.Hopefully his
time on earth will be recognized by the right people with his
election to baseball's most sacred institution, the National Baseball Hall of Fame