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Bill Nicholson (baseball)

Bill Nicholson (baseball)

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William Beck "Swish" Nicholson (December 11, 1914 - March 8, 1996) was a right fielder
Right fielder
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound...

 in Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 who played for the Philadelphia Athletics
Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Athletics have played in the O.co Coliseum....

 (1936), Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 (1939–1948) and Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 (1949–1953). A native of Chestertown, Maryland
Chestertown, Maryland
Chestertown is a town in Kent County, Maryland, United States. The population was 4,746 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Kent County. The ZIP code is 21620 and the area codes are 410 and 443...

, where he attended Washington College
Washington College
Washington College is a private, independent liberal arts college located on a campus in Chestertown, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore. Maryland granted Washington College its charter in 1782...

, he batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

In , Nicholson received an intentional walk with the bases loaded. He is listed as one of only six players in major league history to do it. The others are Abner Dalrymple
Abner Dalrymple
Abner Frank Dalrymple was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball who hit 43 home runs and batted .288 during his 12-season career spent primarily with the Chicago White Stockings, for whom he starred as the leadoff hitter on five National League pennant winners...

 (1881), Nap Lajoie
Nap Lajoie
Napoléon "Nap" Lajoie , also known as Larry Lajoie, was an American Major League Baseball second baseman. He was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island...

 (1901), Del Bissonette
Del Bissonette
Adelphia Louis Bissonette was an American first baseman, manager and coach in Major League Baseball.Born in Winthrop, Maine, Bissonette attended Westbrook Seminary, the University of New Hampshire and Georgetown University before signing a professional baseball contract with Valleyfield-Cap de la...

 (1928), Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

 (1998) and Josh Hamilton (2008).

Career


In a 16-year career, Nicholson posted a .268 batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

 with 235 home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s and 948 RBI
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

 in 1677 games
Games played
Games played is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated ; the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested.-Baseball:In baseball, the statistic applies also to players who, prior to a game,...

.

Nicknamed "Swish" because of his mighty swing
At bat
In baseball, an at bat or time at bat is used to calculate certain statistics, including batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. It is a more restricted definition of a plate appearance...

, which often missed the ball, Nicholson twice led the National League
National League
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

 in home runs and RBI. He played briefly in the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1936, then spent two years in the minors
Minor league baseball
Minor league baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball and provide opportunities for player development. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses...

 before joining the Chicago Cubs in 1939.

Nicholson became a regular with the Cubs in 1940. His most productive season came in 1943, when he hit .309 with a league-leading 29 home runs and 128 RBI. He finished 3rd in the NL MVP Award
MLB Most Valuable Player Award
The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award is an annual Major League Baseball award, given to one outstanding player in the American League and one in the National League. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America...

 vote behind Stan Musial
Stan Musial
Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial is a retired professional baseball player who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals . Nicknamed "Stan the Man", Musial was a record 24-time All-Star selection , and is widely considered to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball...

 and Walker Cooper
Walker Cooper
William Walker Cooper was an American professional baseball player. He was a catcher in Major League Baseball who played for six National League teams from 1940 to 1957...

.

In 1944, Nicholson slipped to .287, but he again led the NL in home runs (33), RBI (122) and runs
Run (baseball)
In baseball, a run is scored when a player advances around first, second and third base and returns safely to home plate, touching the bases in that order, before three outs are recorded and all obligations to reach base safely on batted balls are met or assured...

 (116). In the same season, after hitting four consecutive homers in a July 23 doubleheader at the Polo Grounds
Polo Grounds
The Polo Grounds was the name given to four different stadiums in Upper Manhattan, New York City, used by many professional teams in both baseball and American football from 1880 until 1963...

, he came to bat
At bat
In baseball, an at bat or time at bat is used to calculate certain statistics, including batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. It is a more restricted definition of a plate appearance...

 with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of the second game, and was intentionally walked. Obviously, that forced in a run, but the Cubs couldn't score again and the Giants won the game, 12-10. This time, he lost the MVP honors by one vote to Marty Marion
Marty Marion
Martin Whiteford Marion was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball from to . Marion played with the St. Louis Cardinals for the majority of his career before ending with the St. Louis Browns as a player-manager...

.

Although Nicholson helped the Cubs to the 1945 pennant, his failing eyesight resulted in a slip in production. He hit only .243 with 13 home runs and 88 RBI in the regular season, and batted just .214 with eight RBI in Chicago's seven-game loss to the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 in the World Series
1945 World Series
-Game 1:Wednesday, October 3, 1945 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan-Game 2:Thursday, October 4, 1945 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan-Game 3:Friday, October 5, 1945 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan...

.

In 1949, Nicholson was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he became a part-time player and frequent pinch-hitter. The next season, after he became weak and lost weight, it was disclosed that Nicholson was diabetic. He was unable to play in the World Series with his "Whiz Kids
Whiz Kids (baseball)
The Whiz Kids was a nickname given to the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies in Major League Baseball. This team, averaging only 26.4 years of age, won the National League pennant during that season.After owner R. R. M. Carpenter, Jr...

" teammates against the Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

. Well respected as one of the toughest men to double up, Nicholson hit into double play
Double play
In baseball, a double play for a team or a fielder is the act of making two outs during the same continuous playing action. In baseball slang, making a double play is referred to as "turning two"....

s only once every 90.7 at-bats. He finished his career in 1953 with eight pinch homers.

Bill Nicholson died in Chestertown, Maryland
Chestertown, Maryland
Chestertown is a town in Kent County, Maryland, United States. The population was 4,746 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Kent County. The ZIP code is 21620 and the area codes are 410 and 443...

, at age of 81.

Highlights

  • 5-time All-Star (1940–41, 1943–45)
  • Twice led NL in home runs (1943–44)
  • Twice led NL in RBI (1943–44)
  • Led NL in runs (1944)
  • One of five NL right fielders to register 11 total chances
    Total chances
    In baseball statistics, total chances , also called chances offered, represents the number of plays in which a defensive player has participated. It is calculated as follows: Total Chances = assists + putouts + errors. Chances accepted refers to the total of putouts and assists only. Fielding...

     in a game (1945). The others are Harry Schafer
    Harry Schafer
    For the Austrian-American economist, see Harry G. Shaffer.Harry C. Schafer was a professional baseball player who played for eight seasons in Major League Baseball...

     (1877), Greasy Neale (1920), Casey Stengel
    Casey Stengel
    Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel , nicknamed "The Old Perfessor", was an American Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in ....

     (1920) and Bake McBride
    Bake McBride
    Arnold Ray "Bake" McBride , also nicknamed "Shake n' Bake" and "The Callaway Kid", is a former Major League Baseball outfielder, known primarily as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies' teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s. He made his major league debut for the St...

     (1978). The major league record is held by Tony Armas
    Tony Armas
    Antonio Rafael Armas Machado is a former Venezuelan professional baseball player who played as an outfielder in Major League Baseball. He was one of the top sluggers in the American League in the early 1980s. Twice Armas led the league in home runs, and led all of Major League Baseball in RBIs in...

    , who handled 12 chances in an AL game (1982).

See also


External links