Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Horace Wilds (1867 or 1868 -1902): Black baseball pioneer paralyzed from line drive to head

Obituary of Horace Wilds
Tennessee native Horace Maynard Wilds (1867 or 1868-1902) was a well-known African-American baseball player, who played catcher for the all-black Tribune Nine and other teams.

Described by the Oakland Tribune as the "colored beauty," he played with white players on amateur teams before spending five years with the Pacific Baseball League, a rival to the popular California League. After the Pacific Baseball League folded, he joined all-black teams, which received little to no coverage in the local press.

As with other black baseball players of the time, no major league team would add him to their roster because of his race.

In 1892, he married Joanna Dickson of San Francisco. His wife and two children lived with his family at 1008 Tenth Avenue, which had previously been the Brooklyn Colored School.

Wilds died in 1902 due to the lingering effects of being hit in the head with a baseball injury that occurred six years previously. Although he didn't feel like the injury was serious at first, he had ruptured his optic nerve and suffered from progressive paralysis. He was blind and nearly paralyzed at the time of his death.

His funeral was attended by several prominent elected officials, including the City Manager, Superintendent of Schools and Chief of Police. He was the eldest son of John A. Wilds, a popular janitor at City Hall.

Sources: The Golden Game: The Story of California Baseball by Kevin Nelson, Oakland Tribune, Ancestry.com, San Francisco Call, Morning Call

No comments: