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You're probably wondering what in the world I'm doing writing about Max Bishop. "Who in the heck is Max Bishop?" you might ask. Bishop was the second baseman, and more importantly, the leadoff hitter, for Connie Mack's great Philadelphia Athletics (AL Champions 1929-1931, and World Series Champions 1930-1931). Still, with Al Simmons, Jimmy Foxx, and Mickey Cochrane on that team, what on earth am I doing writing about Max Bishop? Bishop had a lifetime batting average of .271, but he ranks #15 all-time in on-base percentage at an astounding .423 (just ahead of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson") - he had 100+ walks a year for 8-straight years. He didn't steal much, but I guess with the hitters following him, he didn't need to. (It isn't often you see someone with a career slash line of .271/.423/.366.)
A little backstory: When a post asked which MLB baseball players approached a .400 batting average since Ted Williams last accomplished that...I thought of George Brett. Brett did get close, finishing one magic season with a .390 BA. Brett of course was a great baseball player, a hall of famer and fun to watch and follow. Brett played for the Kansas City Royals during their best period from the mid 1970's to the mid 1980's when they were one of the best teams in the major leagues, played in many playoffs, and made and won a World Series. But wait...While Brett was the star of the team he had an excellent high quality teammate in a fellow named Willie Wilson. Do any of you recall him? Willie Wilson was the fastest player in MLB during those years, made some all star teams and had a long successful baseball career, primarily with the Royals. Before Willie Wilson made it to MLB he was one of the all-time storied athletes in New Jersey high school team sports. I knew of him because he competed in the little conference of teams my town played in: The Suburban Conference in Northern NJ. The members of this conference were smaller schools in Northern NJ. The high school classes probably had between 150-300 students each. These were small, suburban schools. They were not known as incubators for super star athletes. Willie Wilson was the exception. For two years running he was All-State in both football and baseball and was also a tremendous basketball player. He dominated that conference, let alone was a super star in the state from among high school athletes. Reportedly he was the most recruited high school football player in the nation that year. Wilson spurned college football, was a high draft choice with MLB and within a few years made it to the big leagues for a long career. Go back to Willie Wilson's high school career and you can find the following video of his football highlights. Catch the following video. Its precious. Do you recall Thanksgiving day football games with your town's biggest rival??? Not only is the video precious but the comments take you back to those hallowed high school days........