Richard Dick Wilson
Published in the Reno Gazette-Journal on 3/22/2009
Richard Wilson passed away on March 9, 2009 at home surrounded by family and friends after a long illness. Richard was born in Salina, Kansas in 1921 to Clyde and Ruby Wilson.
Both of his parents came from large families of 10 or more children. At the age of two, Richard came to California along with my grandparents and their brothers and sisters. While my father was growing up he had a large extended family. Our mother, Elsie also came from a family of 10, so there were quite a few of us. Richard was an only child who settled in Inglewood, California where he attended grade school and graduated from Inglewood High School in 1939. He was athletic and always involved in sports. But baseball was his main passion and he played it year round. Not only for his high school team but he was on a man's Semi-Pro Team at the age of 14. His father was the star pitcher.
Richard married our mother, Elsie Pearson in 1944 and eventually had four children, John, Janet, Steve and Bob. Also from another marriage came Dan Wilson and our stepsister, Christine. Toward the end of W.W.II, he signed his first Pro-ball baseball contract. He played for 16 years as a minor league star. In the early 1950s, he went to spring training and was offered a major league baseball contract. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates offered him less money than he was making in the minor leagues. This was the era before agents etc. He retired as a player in 1960 with a .327 batting average, 300 career home runs, the all time California home run total of 200, a single season leader in California league with 56 double, an all time single season total leader with 395 bases -all standing records. In the 1951 season, he also led the league with 40 home runs and led the league with a batting average of .375, along with a 56 doubles, a 395 total base record and RBIs at 154. All while missing approximately 20 games.
He is on the All Time California League All Star team. Also he was the only player in the history of pro ball to be a 40-40 man as a catcher during his 1948 season in the Sunset League with 45 home runs and 42 stolen bases. After his playing days he began a career as a Scout with his longest employment being for the San Francisco Giants for 26 years. He served as a Scout in the Central Valley and also the Northwestern United States. He also managed the Giants Rookie team for first year players. Locally he signed George Maldonado and Rob Ritchie.
He is survived by his wife, Anna; sons, John, Steve, Bob and Dan; daughter, Janet; stepdaughters, Dawn and Christine; grandchildren, Carrie, Kelli and Tony; great- grandchildren, Nicole, Danielle and Jade; as well as cousins, Les and Helen Naisbett and family.
Services were held on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at Walton Funeral Home, 1745 Sullivan Lane, Sparks, NV.