Covington, Wes

Primary Position: Left field
Birthplace: Laurinburg

First, MIddle Names: John Wesley
Date of Birth: March 27, 1932           Date and Place of Death: July 4, 2011, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Burial: Cremated

High School: Laurinburg Institute; Hillside High School, Durham, NC
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-1,205
Debut Year: 1956       Final Year: 1966          Years Played: 11
Teams and Years:  Milwaukee Braves, 1956-61; Chicago White Sox, 1961; Kansas City Athletics, 1961; Philadelphia Phillies, 1961-65; Chicago Cubs, 1966; Los Angeles Dodgers, 1966

Career Summary
G             AB         H         R           RBI      HR      BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
1075    2978    832   355     499    131     .279     .337     .466      +9.2

Awards/Honors: Boys of Summer Top 100

The Bears of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a Boston Braves’ minor-league affiliate, featured two African American sluggers in 1952, roomies Wes Covington and Henry Aaron. Covington hit 24 home runs that year, Aaron a mere nine.  “At that point, if people had known that one of our players would someday be the all-time, major-league home-run leader, everybody would have assumed that Covington would be the guy,” Aaron would later write in his autobiography. [I]

Of course, that’s not how it turned out. While he had a productive career in the majors that included appearances in three World Series, Covington never became a baseball immortal like his old roommate. Injuries afflicted him and, by some accounts, a big mouth hampered him. The authors of an encyclopedia about the Philadelphia Phillies summed up the career of the team’s former left fielder: “Wes Covington lasted 11 years in the major leagues because of a bat that made a lot of noise and in spite of a mouth that did likewise…. (He) specialized in long home runs and long interviews that tended to get people around him a bit testy.”[II]

Continue reading “Covington, Wes”

Burris, Paul

Primary Position: Catcher
Birthplace: Hickory

First, Middle Names: Paul Robert

Date of Birth:  July 21, 1923   Date and Place of Death: Oct. 3, 1999, Charlotte, NC
Burial: Williams Memorial Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Charlotte

High School: Central, Derita high schools, Charlotte

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-0, 190
Debut Year: 1948       Final Year: 1953          Years Played: 4
Teams and Years: Boston Braves, 1948, 1950, 1952; Milwaukee Braves, 1953

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
69     196      43      15        24        2        .219       .254     .276     -0.8

Paul Burris crouched behind the plate in the fourth inning of a meaningless game between his Milwaukee Braves and its Wisconsin farm club in Eau Claire. It was an off day in the middle of the 1953 season and it’s likely that the Braves’ owners were using the exhibition game to promote the team’s recent relocation from Boston.

After years of bouncing up and down to and from the minors, Burris thought he had finally latched on for good as the team’s backup catcher. He had been playing professional baseball for more than a decade, ever since his father, Clarence, a postal clerk, wrote his hometown Hickory Rebels back in 1942 suggesting they take a look at his talented son, who had pitched a no-hitter for Charlotte’s Derita High School against Cornelius High and its star pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm. Burris signed a few days later. The only things anyone might remember about that Hickory team was its awful record – it won 18 games while losing 80 – and its zany manager, Struttin’ Bud Shaney.[1]

Continue reading “Burris, Paul”