Jud Wilson

Positions: Third baseman; First baseman; Manager
Teams Include: Baltimore Black Sox, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Philadelphia Stars, 1922-1945

Jud Wilson was a fearsome hitter and a fearless human being. He was probably one of the greatest pure hitters ever (or at least Satchel Paige would have you believe so), but he was known almost as well for his fighting as his hitting. Umpires, opponents, even teammates had to face his wrath on occasion. His nickname was "Boojum," for that's the sound they said his line drives made when they whacked off outfield walls.

Not just pitchers but umpires feared Wilson's wrath. In 1934, he punched an ump during the playoffs.
Not just pitchers but umpires feared
Wilson's wrath. In 1934, he punched an
ump during the playoffs.

Ernest Judson Wilson (1899-1963) had an unusual body for a baseball player. His upper half was Herculean, yet he was bowlegged with a small waist. His physique served him well as a batter. While it is impossible to state exactly how accurate averages from the Negro Leagues are, his stats are impressive even if they are somewhat off.

During his first year (1922), he played 36 games and batted .471. The next year, the Eastern Colored League was born. He ended its first season as its batting champion with an average of .373 (some say .464). He followed with marks of .377, .395, .346, .469, .376, .350, .372, .323, .356, .354, .342, .324, .315, and (in 1937) .386. It's hard to hit much better than that. Jud was a line-drive hitter whose greatest power was to the opposite field. Cool Papa Bell said, "He could hit that ball as hard as anybody."

Naturally, having a bat like that in your order could do a lot for your team. During a six-year stretch, he starred with the 1929 Baltimore Black Sox, 1931 Homestead Grays, 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords, and 1934 Philadelphia Stars. Wilson was chosen as the starting third baseman for the first three East-West All-Star Games. He also played six seasons of Cuban winter ball, winning two batting titles (.403 and .441).

After being injured in a bus accident with the Stars in 1937, Wilson saw limited action until Grays owner Cum Posey called for him in 1940. The Homesteaders had won three straight pennants, but Posey knew the 41-year-old Boojum could still deliver. With him in the lineup, Posey's charges won three more titles.

Wilson's lifetime Negro Leagues average of .347 was one of the best marks ever. The Special Committee on Negro Leagues selected him for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Here are Jud Wilson's Negro League statistics*:


*Note: Wilson's career statistics are incomplete.

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