Bill D. Lucas
William DeVaughn Lucas
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 165 lb
- School Florida A&M
Bill Lucas played six years in the minor leagues before becoming an executive, eventually a general manager. He was the highest-ranking black executive in baseball at one point. He also was once the brother-in-law of Hank Aaron; his sister Barbara had been married to Hank.
In 1953, Bill was working at the Jacksonville ballpark, doing maintenance, concessions and ticket-counting. That year, Jacksonville helped integrate the South Atlantic League in the field. After college, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves.
Lucas began his career with the 1957 Salinas Packers, hitting .304/~.407/.428 and stealing 14 bases in 87 games. He fielded .930 at shortstop, second-best among the California League starters at the position. He missed 1958 and 1959, presumably due to military service.
In 1960, Bill returned with the Boise Braves and batted .311 with 10 HR and 79 RBI. He spent 1961 with the Yakima Braves (.308, 15 RBI) and the AA Austin Senators (.227, 2 HR, 25 RBI). In 1962, Lucas returned to Austin to hit a solid .309 with 6 HR and 29 RBI.
Lucas split 1963 between Austin (.216, 4 HR, 21 RBI) and the Denver Bears (.200, 2 RBI in his brief look at AAA). In 1964, he returned to Austin to hit .239 with 10 homers and 36 RBI. A leg injury helped end his career.
Retiring as a player, Lucas was hired by John McHale as the Atlanta Braves assistant farm director. He was promoted to director of player development later in his career, then vice president and director of operations after Ted Turner took over the Braves.
He served as General Manager of the Atlanta Braves from 1976 until his death in 1979. At the time, he was the highest-ranking black executive in baseball and the firstAfrican-American General Manager. He died three days after a brain hemorrhage and cardiac arrest. Shortly before that, he had sent champagne and a dozen roses to Phil Niekro's wife in honor of Niekro's 200th win. Hank Aaron recalled "Bill had been everything to the Braves - a brother to some of us, a father to others, and a friend to everybody."
After Lucas died, Ted Turner sent monthly checks to his widow Rubye so she could send their kids to college. The Braves honored Lucas's memory when they moved to their new home, SunTrust Park, in 2017. The conference room used by baseball operations staff at the ballpark was named the "Bill Lucas Conference Room", while the street leading to the players' and executives' entrance was named "Bill Lucas Way".
Lucas' brother Robert Lucas has been head coach at Florida A&M and a scout for the Braves.
|Atlanta Braves General Manager
- Mark Bowman: "Braves, dignitaries honor trailblazing GM Lucas: Club pays homage to first African-American GM with additions to SunTrust Park", mlb.com, February 9, 2017. 
- Terence Moore: "Trailblazer Lucas hardly a forgotten man: First African-American GM honored by Braves", mlb.com, February 17, 2017.