Cover image for Fouled away : the baseball tragedy of Hack Wilson
Fouled away : the baseball tragedy of Hack Wilson
Parker, Clifton Blue, 1963-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [2000]

Physical Description:
ix, 222 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV865.W56 P27 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A hundred and ninety-one. Mention the number anywhere near a ballpark and before you can ask who or what, fans will almost certainly shape their lips with a single word: Wilson. They'll tell you Hack Wilson, a burly, bull-necked outfielder who roamed Wrigley Field in the 1920s and 1930s, was the man who drove in 191 runs in 1930--more than most players had hits. A few of them will know that in 1929, Wilson racked up 159 RBI and hit 39 home runs. Still fewer might be able to tell you that for the four seasons 1927-1930, the slugger hit no fewer than 30 home runs a season and drove home no fewer than 120. But you are unlikely to find more than a handful of fans who know how the Cub great's career came to an end. Or when. Or why. The heir apparent to Ruth's title of world-beater, Wilson was a star by his late 20s and a record setter by 30. But he was also an alcoholic who was as practiced at swinging his fists as he was his bat. By his early 30s his days as a full-time player were behind him, and by 48 he was dead; his son refused to claim the body. This biography examines the turbulent life and career of one of the most dominant short-stint powerhitters ever to pull on a uniform. From Wilson's early career as a steelworker, through his time as the beloved ballplayer and icon for the City of Big Shoulders to his days as a down-on-his-luck baseball washout and itinerant laborer, an unflinching look at this Hall of Famer is provided.

Author Notes

Clifton Blue Parker is a magazine editor at the University of California, Davis, and a former newspaper journalist and Congressional press secretary. A member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), he lives in Davis, California.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Hack Wilson drove in 191 runs for the Chicago Cubs in 1930, a record that may never be broken. Yet four years later, at age 34, his major-league career was over. Squat by today's standards, Wilson, who grew up wielding a sledgehammer in the Pennsylvania steel mills, was surprisingly speedy and strong enough to knock in more than 100 runs in five consecutive years. But he was a heavy drinker and a free spender--a perfect match for freewheeling Prohibition Chicago. Booze took its toll, and when Wilson died penniless in 1948, his son refused to claim the body. Parker recounts Wilson's rags-to-riches-to-rags life in carefully researched detail, noting that, by the standards of the day, Wilson's behavior was perfectly appropriate: ballplayers were expected to drink as hard as they played. Wilson, a star who burned brightly but too briefly, is usually overlooked when the great ones are discussed. Parker's informative and insightful biography may not change public opinion, but it helps to set the record straight. --Wes Lukowsky

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. 1
1. Child of Steelp. 5
2. Land of the Giantsp. 25
3. Gangster Baseballp. 46
4. Toward Stardom and the World Seriesp. 70
5. Hacking Toward Immortalityp. 89
6. The Big Hangoverp. 125
7. Temporary Eclipse?p. 142
8. Ephemeral Boomsp. 156
9. The Wandering Yearsp. 165
10. Classic American Tragedyp. 196
Appendix A An Enduring Recordp. 205
Appendix B Career Statisticsp. 213
Appendix C Hack Wilson's 191 RBIs, 56 Home Runs--1930p. 214
Bibliographyp. 217
Indexp. 219