Wynne, Will

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Neuse, Wake County

First, Middle Names: William Andrew

Date of Birth:  March 27, 1869          Date and Place of Death: Aug. 7, 1951, Raleigh, NC
Burial: Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh

High School: Undetermined
College: Wake Forest University, Wake Forest, NC

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 5-11, 161
Debut Year: 1894       Final Year: 1894          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Washington Senators, 1894

Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
1          0          1          0          6.75     8.0       2          -0.2

Bill Wynne was the first North Carolinian to pitch in the major leagues. Only outfielder Charley Jones of Alamance County preceded him to the majors – by about 20 years. Jones was a party-loving ladies’ man, known as the Knight of the Limitless Linen, and a superstar of early baseball. Wynne had a forgettable career that lasted all of eight innings. He didn’t hang around long enough to acquire a reputation or earn a nickname. If it centered on the baseball diamond, Wynne’s story would end about here. Baseball, however, was little more than a footnote in the life of this unconventional man.

Telephones and radios and, of all things, bicycles, play far larger roles in Wynne’s story. He was North Carolina’s most-famous cyclist of the 19th century, riding thousands of miles and capturing headlines wherever he went and thrilling audiences with daredevil stunts. A tinkerer with electricity since childhood, Wynne started a telephone company after his brief baseball career that provided some of the first phone service in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he waged a decades-long and, in the end, quixotic fight against his main competitor, the grasping monopoly that was Southern Bell. Wynne then operated the first radio station in the capital and in several Eastern North Carolina towns. Oh, and he also found time to open a drug store up in the mountains.

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Cooke, Dusty

Primary Position: Outfield
Birthplace: Swepsonville

First, Middle Names: Allen Lindsey        Nicknames: Dusty

Date of Birth:  June 23, 1907  Date and Place of Death: Nov. 21, 1987, Raleigh, NC
Burial: Westview Memorial Gardens, Lillington, NC

High School: Durham High School, Durham, NC  

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-1, 205
Debut Year: 1930       Final Year: 1938          Years Played: 8
Team(s) and Years: New York Yankees, 1930-32; Boston Red Sox, 1933-36; Cincinnati Reds, 1938

Career Summary
G           AB         H           R          RBI       HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
608    1745    489      324    229      24      .280     .384     .416      +7.1

Awards/Honors: Boys of Summer Top 100

Life had been good to Dusty Cooke as he trotted out to right field at Griffith Stadium in Washington on that Sunday afternoon in April 1931. He was 24 years old, a kid from the sticks of Alamance County, batting third for the great New York Yankees, and playing in place of The Babe himself, who was nursing an injury. In his second year as a big leaguer, Cooke was beginning to show why one of his managers down in the minors called him “the game wrecker.” Through the first week of the new season, he was playing every day, hitting a torrid .353 and stealing bases with abandon. The kid had greatness written all over him, and his time had come.

Ossie Bluege, the Senators’ leadoff hitter that inning, lofted a flyball to shallow right. Cooke showed his dazzling speed by almost reaching the spot where the ball would land. He dove to make up the last couple of feet, and, in the instant it took to hit the ground, life turned mean. Cooke writhed in pain on the freshly mowed grass. The ball bounced toward the wall. No one thought to chase it down, as worried teammates gathered around the prone kid in obvious pain. Bluege was credited with an inside-the-park home run.

They carried a broken Dusty Cooke off the sun-drenched field that afternoon. Doctors later determined that his shoulder was separated and his collarbone splintered. Surgery would be required.

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