Bucky Williams

From BR Bullpen

Wallace Ignatius Williams

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 165 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Bucky Williams was a long-time presence in Pittsburgh black baseball. The third of 8 children born to Mathilda and Joseph Williams, Bucky moved to the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh when he was 6 months old and spent the rest of his life in the region. He dropped out of Holy Rosary and Crescent Elementary School in either the 7th or 8th grade. He began his baseball career with the 1921 Pittsburgh Keystone Juniors, for whom he played four years. In 1925, Wallace moved on to the Pittsburgh Monarchs for three years.

He joined the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1928, before their glory days. They were first considered a major team in 1931 and Bucky was still on the club when they reached the big time; one of his teammates was Satchel Paige. Pittsburgh developed a powerhouse in 1932, adding the likes of Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Jud Wilson and Double Duty Radcliffe; Williams backed up Jake Stephens at short and Harry Williams at third base.

Bucky moved to the minor Cleveland ABCs in 1932, Akron Grays in 1933 and Edgar Thomson Steel Mill team from 1933-1936. In 1936, Williams got a chance with the Homestead Grays as a backup infielder; the first baseman was Hall-of-Famer Buck Leonard and other legends included Rap Dixon, Vic Harris and Ray Brown. That year, he married Marjorie Carey at St. Benedict the Moor Church in Pittsburgh's Hill District; they would have one son, David.

Williams returned to the Crawfords for the 1937 season and he backed up Chester Williams and Harry Williams as well as Wilson on the infield in the next four years for the Pittsburgh team. Bucky claimed a lifetime .340 average, though his likely includes his semipro and minor days, not just his time with the Crawfords and Grays when they were top teams.

After the Crawfords left town, Williams spent three years with the minor Pittsburgh Monarchs. He played sandlot ball for many years.

Williams was a ladle liner at the Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock, PA for 30 years, retiring in 1971. In 1976, Marjorie Williams passed away. Bucky later moved in with his son.

He was an umpire in the East End Little League Association later in life and was active in publicizing the Negro Leagues in the 1990s and early 21st Century, even as he neared 100 years of age. At the 2006 All-Star Game, the 99-year-old reminisced about the many legends he played with. In December of 2006, he became one of the few Negro League players to reach that mark. He died in 2009, a month shy of his 103rd birthday.

Sources include articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Catholic as well as information from Negro League historian Wayne Stivers

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