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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

Wilson to be guest speaker at banquet March 27

Friday, February 27, 2004

SIKESTON - The Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Banquet is set for March 27 at VFW Post 3174, 709 Smith St.

Guest speaker Willie Wilson was born in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., and began his Major League baseball career on Sept. 4, 1976, with the Kansas City Royals and stayed with that club until 1990. A first-round draft choice for the Royals in 1974, Wilson had turned down a football scholarship to the University of Maryland in order to play baseball. The 6-foot 3-inch 195-pound switch-hitter throws right. His great speed made him an acceptable lead-off hitter. Wilson seldom walked and was an exciting outfielder in the spacious Royal's Stadium.

After leaving the Royals, he played for Oakland Athletics in 1991 and 1992 and finished his playing time with the Chicago Cubs in 1993 and 1994. Wilson played 19 seasons with three different teams and ended his big league career in 1994.

Once he started playing every day, Wilson hit .300 for four successive seasons. He had stolen more than 30 bases in 11 consecutive seasons through 1988. In 1980, he became the second player to collect 100 hits from each side of the plate in a season and was Royal's Player of the Year in 1981. He led the American League in triples five times and played 148 straight errorless games in 1987 (325 chances). Also in 1980, Wilson received the Silver Slugger Award-AL-OF and Gold Glove Award AL-OF; and in 1982 he was again awarded the Silver Slugger Award-AL-OF. Wilson's 12 strikeouts in the 1980 World Series set a record, but he exonerated himself by batting .367 in the 1985 "I-70 Series" against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Amateur players to be inducted this year will be: Joe Bill Davis of Benton; Kenneth Marler and Don Metz of Poplar Bluff; Bobby McDonald of Malden; Don Metz of Poplar Bluff and formerly of Oran; Don Miller of Sikeston; and James Warren Sr. of Thayer and formerly of Charleston. Posthumously honored will be Ronald Michel of Cape Girardeau and Roger Pattillo of Poplar Bluff.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 and are available at the door or from area board members Charles Gardner, Arthur Bruce, Charles Miller, Lynn Hasty and Shirley Miller.