Don Wilson (baseball)

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Don Wilson
Pitcher
Born: (1945-02-12)February 12, 1945
Monroe, Louisiana
Died: January 5, 1975(1975-01-05) (aged 29)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 29, 1966 for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1974 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Win–loss record 104–92
Earned run average 3.15
Strikeouts 1,283
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Donald Edward "Don" Wilson, (February 12, 1945 – January 5, 1975) was a professional baseball pitcher. He played all or part of nine seasons in Major League Baseball with the Houston Astros.[1]

Biography[edit]

Career[edit]

Wilson's professional career began after he graduated from Compton Community College in Compton, California and was recruited by the Astros in 1966, where he played until 1974.[2] Especially early in his career when he was prone to wildness, Wilson was known as one of the hardest throwers in the National League.[3]

On June 18 of his rookie season, 1967, Wilson no-hit the Atlanta Braves 2–0 at the Astrodome. The no-hitter was the first ever pitched either in a domed stadium or on artificial turf. Along the way, he struck out 15 batters, including Hank Aaron for the final out.[4](Audio) In 1968, Wilson set the Astros club record for single-game strikeouts with 18 against the Dodgers.[5] On May 1, 1969, the day after Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds no-hit the Astros 10–0 at Crosley Field for his second career no-hitter, Wilson returned the favor and no-hit the Reds 4–0 for his second career no-hitter. (Audio) The back-to-back no-hit feat was only the second in MLB history, the first having been accomplished in September of just the year before by Gaylord Perry and Ray Washburn. This second no-hitter was vengeance for Wilson: in his previous start against the Reds nine days earlier, he had given up seven runs in five innings and was the losing pitcher in the Reds' 14–0 drubbing of the Astros at the Astrodome.[6] That year, the Astros finished .500 (81-81) for the first time in club history,[7] and Wilson struck out 235 batters (his career best in a brief career) in 225 innings in fashioning a 16–12 record.[1] That season, the Astros set what was then a big-league record for strikeouts in a season by a pitching staff. Two other Houston starters, Larry Dierker and Tom Griffin, also struck out at least 200 batters that season, with Dierker's 232 in 305 innings leading the way.[7] The 1971 season saw Wilson make the National League All-Star Team[1] as well as earn Astros MVP honors.[8] Wilson's last game was a two-hit, 5–0 shutout against the Atlanta Braves on September 28, 1974.[1][9]

Death[edit]

AstrosRet 40.PNG
Don Wilson's number 40 was retired by the Houston Astros in 1975.

On January 5, 1975, Wilson died at his Fondren Southwest Houston home he shared with his wife, daughter and son. Wilson was found in the passenger seat of his brown Ford Thunderbird inside the garage with the engine running. The garage was attached to the house, which caused his son, Alex, to die also and his daughter and wife to be hospitalized. The official cause of death states that Wilson's death was accidental.[10]

Wilson's uniform number was retired by the Astros on April 13, 1975,[11] and a black circular patch with his number 40 in white was worn on the left sleeve of the Astros "rainbow jerseys" the following season.[12]

Plate honoring Don Wilson on the Houston Astros Wall of Honor at Minute Maid Park

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Don Wilson at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived 11/27/09
  2. ^ Don Wilson at thebaseballcube.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  3. ^ Don Wilson at baseballlibrary.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  4. ^ Wilson Fans 15, No-Hits Braves by John Wilson in the Houston Chronicle, published June 18, 1967, at astrosdaily.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  5. ^ Wilson strikes out 18 at astrosdaily.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  6. ^ Don Wilson Hurls 2nd No-Hitter of Career by John Wilson in the Houston Chronicle, published May 1, 1969, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  7. ^ a b 1969 Houston Astros Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  8. ^ Bourn highlights Astros' awards season by Brian McTaggart at mlb.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  9. ^ Standings and Games on Saturday, September 28, 1974 at baseball-reference.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  10. ^ The Obit For Don Wilson at thedeadballera.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  11. ^ Retired Numbers at foreverastro.com, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009
  12. ^ Patches and Armbands at exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org, URL accessed November 27, 2009. Archived November 27, 2009

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sonny Siebert
Jim Maloney
No-hitter pitcher
June 18, 1967
May 1, 1969
Succeeded by
Dean Chance
Jim Palmer