It was all about Willie and his big decision. But first, the SHS baseball squad finished up the year 13-8, 8-6 in the Suburban Conference, afer a miserable 1-5 start in SC play. Pitcher/first baseman George Gross best exemplified the turnaround. Gross, after losing his first four starts on the mound, finished 5-4, with four shutouts, including a sterling two-hit, 11-inning whitewash of Caldwell. Of course that 1-0 victory also summed up the season offensively. Outside of Wilson and Gross, the ‘O’ was largely missing. In the Caldwell game, Wilson singled, stole 2nd and 3rd, and was squeezed in by Rick Gross.
Wilson finished the year at .436, with a school record 34 hits and a spectacular 28 of 28 in stolen bases. Gross hit .444, matching Wilson’s school record set Willie’s junior season. Gross also had a record 19 RBI, besting Wilson’s mark of 17. Gross and Wilson were then selected to the All-Suburban Conference team, Gross as a first baseman.
Two other notes. Bob Miller finished 5-4 on the mound and John Merchant 3-0. Wouldn’t you know, that adds up to 13-8.
Then in June, Wilson shocked the world.
“Wilson Signs with Kansas City Nine For a Reported Bonus of $90,000”
As reported by the Herald:
“In a move that stunned the football coaching staff at the Univ. of Maryland, Willie Wilson, Summit High’s ‘Mr. Everything’ on the athletic field, signed a professional contract last Sunday with the Kansas City Royals of the American League.”
It was the largest bonus ever paid by the Royals to a draft choice, as Kansas City farm director Lou Gorman said, “We think he is an outstanding prospect with a chance to be a great player.”
Willie had a workout in Kansas City prior to signing and was accompanied by his mother, Howie Anderson, and attorney Gil Owren.
Elsewhere, Summit’s Mike Reid, a great pitcher for the Hilltoppers and now a soph at Muhlenberg, was 3-3 on the mound with a 1.88 ERA. Reid was also the quarterback for Muhlenberg.
Three new principals were announced. Dr. David Kalna at Franklin School, Ernest Rittenhouse at Washington, and Miss Grace Kingsbury at Wilson.
The SHS Marching Band et al, all 180 of us, marched in the Memorial Day Parade, and the heat, with those Civil War-heavy uniforms.
St. Teresa’s School celebrated its 100th anniversary.
26 bikes were stolen in May.
And at The Strand, “Papillon” and then “The Poseidon Adventure.”
Next installment, April 7.