Todd Peterson, who’s working on a book for McFarland about the St. Paul Gophers and early black baseball in Minnesota, has written in about his research on George H. Wilson. “Wilson,” Todd says, “was a tremendous pitcher and quite a flamboyant personality – the ‘whole show’ as one paper called him.” He “was part of a migration of Chicago players to Minnesota in the early 20th century and he pitched for several teams in the area, most notably the Waseca EACO’s, the Renville All-Stars and St. Cloud.”
Todd has compiled the following chronology for Wilson (sources including Sol White; James Riley; Ancestry.com; and local newspapers):
George H. Wilson P
Born July 1875, Michigan
1894 Adrian (MI) Light Guard
1895 Page Fence Giants
1895 Adrian (MI) (Michigan State League)
1896-1898 Page Fence Giants
1899-1900 Chicago Columbia Giants
1900-1902 Waseca (MN) EACO’s
1903 St. Cloud (MN)
1903 Algona (IA) Brownies (late in season)
1904-1905 Chippewa Falls (WI)
1905 Renville (MN) All Stars
1905 Chicago Union Giants (late in season)
1906 Sheboygan (MI)
There’s some question about whether the Sheboygan referred to in 1906 was the one in Michigan or the one in Wisconsin; a note in the Minneapolis Tribune (August 1906) about Wilson going home to pitch (he was from Michigan) led Todd to think it was in Michigan. On the other hand, a couple of the references Joe Niese sent me about Wilson came from a Sheboygan, Wisconsin, paper, though they aren’t from 1906 and refer to Wilson playing for a team in Manitowoc, rather than Sheboygan.
It seems, from the material Joe sent me, that Todd can add 1906/07 Habana (Cuban League) and 1907-1909 Manitowoc (WI), Lake Shore League, to the list.
And Todd has sent me the following 1902 photo of George Wilson, in his Waseca EACO uniform (from the Minnesota Historical Society):
UPDATE 1/21/2008 1:13 p.m. David Skinner wrote in the following:
There is in fact no such place as Sheboygan, Michigan. Frequently confused with Sheboygan, Wisconsin, however, is Cheboygan, Michigan, with a C. Sheboygan is a small city of 50,000 plus which actually had minor league ball for a number of years in the 40s. Cheboygan, on the other hand, is a VERY small town of under 5,000 and of course never had pro ball. My definition of a very small town is one smaller than my beloved Bisbee, which has OVER 5,000 brave souls. None of this has any bearing on George Wilson, who could well have played on a town team, which undoubtedly Cheboygan, like seemingly every other Midwest small town, had.
David also had high praise for Todd’s presentation on the St. Paul Gophers at the SABR national convention last summer.
And he sent a brief correction to his first message:
My bad. Both Bisbee and Cheboygan have grown and gotten ahead of me. I checked the actual 2000 census figures and Sheboygan is still over 50,000, while Cheboygan has climbed over 5,000. But not to be outdone, Bisbee soared to over 6,000 (you'd hardly notice) and remained over 1,000 bigger, leaving Cheboygan as I said a very small town.