Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Negro League baseball history fact for today - Wilmer Fields

Wilmer Leon Fields, born on August 2, 1922 in Manassas, Virginia, fulfilled his childhood dream of playing Negro League baseball.  The 6’3”, 215 pound right handed pitcher played his entire Negro League career with the Homestead Grays, 1940 – 1950.  Fields was the Grays ace pitcher from 1946 to 1948, the team’s last good years.  His pitching helped the Grays defeat the Birmingham Black Barons four games to one in the last Negro League World Series in 1948.  He also appeared in the Negro League East – West All Star Game that year.
Fields refused three offers to play for Major League teams; the New York Yankees in 1948, the Washington Senators in 1949, and the St. Louis Browns in 1952.  He was fulfilling his dream of playing Negro League baseball and believed those contract offers were not more beneficial for his family.  After the Homestead Grays were disbanded in1949, Fields spent the next years playing in the Canadian League.
However, he did play with the St. Louis Browns’ International League team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in 1953 and was in the minor league system of other Major League teams in 1956 and 1957. 
Fields died on June 4, 2004 in his hometown of Manassas.

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