On Wednesday, for my birthday, I got a game for my computer, Out Of The Park Baseball 19, which is a simulation baseball game, and an incredibly in depth one at that. The first thing I decided to do was a historical simulation that was simply following the game throughout history, but there was a catch. This was all to be done with 2001 statistical modifiers, for every player who ever played the game. Right now in my historical sim, it is Opening Day of the 1933 season, and Cleveland Indians catcher (in real life a Chicago Cubs outfielder, but the game is operating from the beginning of the league, and signings are not historical) Lewis Robert “Hack” Wilson is 86 home runs away from the all-time record. At age 32. He has never hit less than 90 home runs in a season in this sim, so he will probably be the home run king at age 33, which is insane. I had heard the name Hack Wilson before, but this game inspired me to do some research on the historical Hack Wilson. What I found was both incredibly sad and incredibly inspiring, and it is definitely a story worth telling, especially for our purposes at International Youth Coalition.
Hack Wilson was born in 1900 just outside Pittsburgh to a 17 year old, alcoholic mother and a 24 year old alcoholic father. His parents were not married. When Hack’s mother died of appendicitis when Hack was 7, Hack’s father abandoned him to be raised by Grandma Wardman, the owner of the boarding house, and her son Connie, who taught Hack how to play baseball. Wilson’s father then took him to Chester, on the other side of Pennsylvania, and then to Eddystone, where Hack worked in a print shop, which was hard and dangerous work at the time. Hack moved to West Virginia in 1921, where he rose to stardom. Wilson broke his leg sliding into home plate, which messed up his leg badly enough that he had to convert from being a catcher to being a centerfielder, which would explain why he is a catcher in the game. This was also an event where he met his wife, Virginia. He rose up the ranks until being bought by the New York Giants in a deal where Wilson was the tag-along player with a pitcher who Giants manager John McGraw wanted. He did not really produce for the Giants, so he was sent down to the minor leagues. The Giants did not exercise their option on Wilson, which allowed him to fall into the lap of the Chicago Cubs, who signed him up. Hack got along well with Cubs manager Joe McCarthy, who tolerated Hack’s drinking and partying because Hack never showed up drunk to a game and he produced. Wilson’s seasons from 1926-1930 were incredible. “During those five years, he averaged per season: 183 hits, 117 runs scored, 35 home runs, 142 RBIs, and .331/.419/.612 with a 1.031 OPS.” (Schott) The 1930 season was the best of them, in 1930, Wilson hit 56 home runs and 191 RBIs. The home runs set a National League record that stood until the steroid era. Then 1931 happened and it went downhill for Wilson. McCarthy left Chicago to manage the Yankees, and was replaced by Rogers Hornsby, a strict disciplinarian who instituted curfews and weight controls. Hornsby and Wilson clashed and the season was a disaster. He was abysmal and it just kept going downhill from there. By the end of 1934, the great Hack Wilson was out of baseball. His marriage was on the rocks, mostly through his own fault, and his life just generally started getting worse, until he died in 1948. A few weeks before his death, he went on an interview and admitted that he went wrong, and gave a strong, positive message for the kids. While there was a lot of tragedy in his life, he still had those 5 seasons to hold on to.
The reason I thought that Wilson warranted an article here is because most historians look at his short, stubby frame and his small hands and feet and conclude that Wilson had fetal alcohol syndrome. This would make sense, considering that his parents were alcoholics. You will see a lot of pro-choice people using fetal alcohol syndrome as a perceived reason that women need abortion access. Indeed, considering that Wilson’s parents were poor alcoholics, Planned Parenthood would have been all over them trying to get them to have their baby killed. It was people like Wilson who Margaret Sanger spent all of that ink and paper saying shouldn’t be born. While Wilson did become an alcoholic like his parents and was far from a paragon of virtue, his life still mattered. Everybody’s life matters. Your circumstances don’t dictate the value of your life. For those five seasons, Hack Wilson did incredible things. Even now, with games like Out Of The Park Baseball, I’m becoming entertained by Hack Wilson’s character in this game. It’s making me glad that the man lived. If the man had not lived, I would not be being entertained by his exploits, even his fictional exploits. It is tragic and awful that so many people who support abortion want to kill people like Hack Wilson.