Joe Niese has written in to correct the identity of pitcher/outfielder “Wilson” of the 1906/07 Habana club in the Cuban League. This player is identified by Jorge Figueredo as the Negro Leaguer Ray Wilson, who came to Cuba with the Cuban X Giants in 1903, 1904, and 1905 (this is verified by passenger manifests). I just followed Figueredo in assuming the Habana player in 1906/07 was Ray Wilson.
But Ray Wilson was a first baseman in Cuba, and didn't pitch at all in his previous visits. Meanwhile, I ignored the fact that Roberto González Echevarría calls this player “George Wilson,” mostly because he goes on to speculate that was really former Boston Americans pitcher George Prentiss, who played under the name “George Wilson” in 1901 (The Pride of Havana, p. 127). More importantly, I completely overlooked James Riley’s entry on the turn-of-the-century lefthanded pitcher George H. Wilson, who had pitched for the integrated Adrian club in the 1895 Michigan State League, reportedly going 29-4 (one teammate being Grant “Home Run” Johnson). Riley comments that Wilson “pitched with the Havana team in the Cuban winter league in 1907” (p. 863).
While researching Wilson’s time with white clubs in Wisconsin in the mid- to late 1900s, Joe Niese came up with this, from the Racine Daily Journal (September 9, 1907):
“Though the baseball season in the Lake Shore League will not be finished until October, overtures are already being made here by the Havana team of the Cuban league for George Wilson, the colored twirler who has pitched such sensational ball for the Manitowoc team. Wilson pitched Havana into being a contender for the pennant in the Cuban league last winter, winning over two-thirds of his games and the management there is again desirous of securing the dusky slugger. Wilson, however will decline the offer of the Havana team even though the figure set for his salary is $500 per month, since he finds that arm will not stand a winter and summer pitching siege.”
I checked in Cuban newspapers, and while I didn't find Wilson's first name or any very specific information about him, I did find an indication in Diario de la Marina (February 8, 1907) that he was brought to Cuba on the recommendation of “Johnson,” presumably his teammate Chappie Johnson (Wilson arrived several weeks after the season had started). Chappie Johnson and George H. Wilson played together for several years on the Page Fence Giants, Columbia Giants, and Chicago Union Giants, whereas Chappie Johnson and Ray Wilson had never been teammates (to my knowledge) up to 1907. Ray Wilson was an east coast player, Chappie Johnson and George Wilson were both midwestern players. So I see much better reason for thinking the Habana player is in fact George H. Wilson rather than Ray Wilson, absent any evidence to the contrary. So I’ve corrected my 1906/07 Cuban League stats to reflect this change. This would mean that two pitchers on the 1906/07 Habana club, Wilson and George McQuillan, are wrongly identified in Figueredo.
Available passenger manifests, by the way, do not show any known player named Wilson returning to the U.S. that spring, so no help there. (His teammates McQuillan and Johnson can't be found, either.)
Joe Niese also found that Habana or some other Cuban outfit made overtures to Wilson in the fall of 1908. According to the Sheboygan Daily Press (September 14, 1908), “George Wilson will leave Manitowoc in a few days for Cuba where it is expected he will sign with some Cuban team. It is not certain whether he will return to Manitowoc next summer.” The same paper would refer the following spring (May 20, 1909) to “Wilson[,] who went to Cuba last fall to play with Havana.” Wilson didn’t play in the Havana-based Cuban League that fall or winter, but it’s possible he performed in the Las Villas championship, or some other provincial league.
In the Indianapolis Freeman, February 24, 1917, Dave Wyatt compiles a list of 38 black ballplayers who had died within the past ten years, including three we’ve discussed here (Bill Monroe, Bill Lindsay, and John Chenault). He includes the cause of death (tuberculosis for Monroe and Lindsay, heart failure for Chenault) and the place of death (he mistakenly gives Kansas City for Lindsay, though he’s correct on the other two), but not the date.
Appearing consecutively are:
R. Wilson—Insanity, Cuban X Giants, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
George Wilson—Insanity, Page Fence Giants, Palmyra, Michigan.
Yes, Wyatt lists “insanity” as the cause of death for both men. Here’s an interesting discussion of what that might mean (which would depend on Wyatt’s sources, of course; he would most likely have been relying on newspaper reports, which presumably would have often been less precise than a medical examiner’s report or death certificate).