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Bill Perkins

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William Gamiel Perkins (Bill, George, Cy)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 195 lb.

Bill Perkins was a Negro League catcher in three different decades.

Perkins debuted with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1928, hitting .236. He was a backup in 1929 and hit .308 in 1930. In 1931, he batted .333 for the Cleveland Cubs and .302 for the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Perkins had his best season in 1932, split between the Crawfords and Homestead Grays. He batted .408, leading the East-West League by 49 points over Vic Harris. His 7 homers placed him fourth behind Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston and Mule Suttles. That fall, he went 3 for 7 in exhibitions against white major league pitchers.

Despite his amazing '32 season, Perkins was a backup in 1933, stuck behind Gibson in Pittsburgh. Cy hit .311 in his part-time role. He remained Gibson's backup in 1934 but was picked to play in the 1934 East-West Game, taking over as catcher for the East when Gibson moved to left field. Perkins went 0 for 1 in that contest. He missed part of the '34 season to play in the Denver Post Tournament and for the Jamestown Red Sox. As a bench player for the legendary 1935 Crawfords, he hit .267.

Perkins made his first trip to Cuba in 1935-1936 and hit .323/?/.401 for Santa Clara, starting at catcher and also appearing at first base and in the outfield. His 38 RBI tied Martín Dihigo for the Cuban Winter League lead. Perkins hit .264 as a backup for the Crawfords in 1936. Against Mike Ryba, Jim Winford, Jim Weaver, Bob Feller and Earl Caldwell that October, he went 7 for 22.

Bill hit .290 and slugged .387 for Santa Clara in 1936-1937. He was 4th in the CWL with 42 runs. In the last game of the playoffs, he cracked a 3-run homer off Dihigo but his club lost, 7-3, as no one else lended a hand offensively and Ray Brown faultered on the hill. In 1937, Perkins hit .253 while playing for Santo Domingo in the Dominican League. Back with Santa Clara in 1937-1938, he hit .281 and slugged .347, with 42 runs putting him in third place behind Sammy Bankhead and Lázaro Salazar.

Perkins left Pittsburgh for the Philadelphia Stars in 1938 and hit .299. His two triples tied Rev Cannady, Jud Wilson, Gibson and Ray Dandridge for the Negro National League lead. in Cuba that winter, he hit .272 and slugged .347. He batted .300 for Philadelphia during 1939 then was Satchel Paige's catcher in the Puerto Rican League.

Cy signed with the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1940 and hit only .181 while splitting the catching with a youngster named Roy Campanella. Perkins did start for the East in the 1940 East-West Game, going 2 for 5 with a run and a RBI from the #7 slot in a 11-0 rout. Fellow veteran Robert Clarke replaced him behind the plate late in the game. In 1940-1941, Perkins hit .264 and slugged .341 for Cienfuegos.

After that, Perkins saw little action. He missed 1944-1945 while serving in the US Army but returned late in 1945 to succeed Suttles as manager of the New York Black Yankees. After a second stint with Philadelphia, he wound up back in Baltimore in 1947, hitting just .139 in a backup role. He ended his career with the Elite Giants a year later.

Perkins wore a chest protector with the words "Thou Shalt Not Steal" written on it.

He later died in a restaurant in unclear circumstances.

The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics lists white major leaguer Cy Perkins as playing in Mexico in 1942, but given the age of the white Perkins, the reference could well have been to this Cy Perkins instead.

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