Date and Place of Birth: April 12, 1922 Rio Vista, Calfornia
Died: May 17, 2007 Carmichael, California
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: United States
William R “Bill” or
“Lefty” Wight was born on April 12, 1922 in Rio Vista, California.
He grew up in
Wight played for the Idaho Falls Russets of the Pioneer League his rookie season and had an 8-12 record with a 3.83 ERA. He had one of the best pick-off moves in the game, catching dozens of off-guard base runners during his career. Even as a young pro, he was so proficient with his move, he was asked to work with Yankees pitchers and base runners before the 1941 World Series.
In 1942 he played for the Norfolk Tars of the Piedmont League where he was 7-5 with a 2.43 ERA and he also appeared in three games for the Binghamton Triplets of the Class A Eastern League.
In January 1943, Wight pitched for the semi-pro Ben’s Golden Glow club in the Alameda Winter League before entering military service with the Navy. He was stationed at St Mary’s Pre-Flight School where – under the watchful eye of coach and future Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer, he pitched for the Air Devils throughout the summer including a 17-inning, 3 to 2, win over Stockton Army Air Base in which he struck out 24. In another game he stranded five runners off first base with his outstanding pick-off move.
Wight remained at St Mary’s until January 1946,
also pitching for Bay Meadows in the
Wight was traded to the Boston Red Sox for the 1951 season and later played for the Tigers, Indians, Orioles, Reds and Cardinals.
Retiring from baseball during the 1959 season,
Wight became a real estate salesman in
With the Astros, he signed Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and as the person overseeing regional scouts for the Braves, he signed two-time National League MVP Dale Murphy. He also signed Bob Horner and Sacramento-products Dusty Baker, Jeff Blauser, Rowland Office, Taylor Duncan and Andy Finlay.
Wight was named Scout of the Year in 1992 and in
2005 was inducted into the San Diego Padres Pacific Coast League
Hall of Fame. His plaque is next to Ted Williams at
Wight, a resident of
Created September 3, 2007. Updated August 25, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.