Bill Nicholson

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William Beck Nicholson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bill "Swish" Nicholson was signed in 1936 and given a cup of coffee, a cigar and 12 at bats by the Philadelphia A's. Bill spent his 1937 season playing for Portsmouth where he batted .303 in 121 games, drove in 92 runs, and belted 20 circuit clouts. He had an A.B. from Washington College, and was listed in the 1938 editon of Who's Who in the Major Leagues by John P. Carmichael. Carmichael wrote, "Rated as one of the more inexperience members of the 1938 Mack squad who has a chance to see the season through if he can get off to a good start with his bat." History shows he didn't even make the team, and was one that Mack let get away.

Swish became a hugely popular star with the Chicago Cubs, both during and for many years after his career. His peak years were during World War II, in 1943 and 1944 when he led the league in both homers and RBI each year. He was 3rd in the MVP voting the first year, and 2nd the next year. Altogether, he had 235 home runs in a 16-year career. He was in the 1945 World Series and was named to the All-Star team each year from 1940 to 1945 except for 1942.

He was a two-time home run champ in the minors, and he credited Kiki Cuyler, his manager at Chattanooga in 1939, with helping him improve his swing.

As his career progressed, his eyesight got worse and he became diabetic.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 5-time NL All-Star (1940, 1941 & 1943-1945)
  • NL Runs Scored Leader (1944)
  • NL Total Bases Leader (1944)
  • 2-time NL Home Runs Leader (1943 & 1944)
  • 2-time NL RBI Leader (1943 & 1944)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1940-1944 & 1947)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1944)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1943 & 1944)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1944)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Robert A. Greenberg: "Swish" Nicholson: A Biography of Wartime Baseball's Leading Slugger, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2008.

Related Sites[edit]