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Ed Wesley

“Ed Wesley? Doggone right he was a pretty good ballplayer. And he was a pretty mean guy. You couldn't fool with him.”
--Detroit Star shortstop Saul Davis, quoted from “Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars,” by Richard Bak


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Negro Leaguer of the Month

April, 2009

Ed Wesley
Born ca. 1898 in Texas
Died:?
Ht: 6'-0”, Wt: 200
Position: 1B
Years Played: 1918-1931
Teams: Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Harrisburg Giants, Cleveland Hornets, Atlantic City Bacharachs

Ed Wesley, a slugging first baseman for the Detroit Stars, teamed with Turkey Stearnes for many years in forming the toughest 1-2 punch in black baseball, and maybe second in all of baseball only to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Wesley joined a long line of great Negro Leaguers to come from Texas, the others being Willie Wells, Rube Foster and Louis Santop.

Though little is mentioned of Wesley, he should be considered almost in the same class, defensively, as Buck Leonard, Buck O'Neil, Red Moore and Showboat Thomas.

Wesley's first team of note was the 1918 Texas All-Stars, a black semipro club. He was soon discovered by fellow Texan Foster, who signed him to a Chicago American Giants contract. During the 1919 season, in order to keep the Negro National League competitive, Foster shipped Wesley, along with Pete Hill, Frank Duncan, Bruce Petway, Jose Mendez and Frank Wickware, to the Detroit Stars, the team Wesley is most associated with.

In 1920, Wesley batted .285 with a team and league-leading 10 homers in 43 league games. In '21, Wesley raised his average to .336 in league games, and led the Stars with seven longballs. In '22, Wesley batted .344 with 12 homers in 61 league games.

In 1923, Turkey Stearnes joined Detroit, and he and Wesley tied for the league lead in homers with 17 (Wesley batted .339).

After switching to the Harrisburg Giants in 1924, Wesley was back in Detroit in '25 and again tied with Stearnes for the league lead in homers, this time with 18, though Wesley needed only 205 at bats to reach that number, while Stearnes batted 324 times.

In 1926, Stearnes finally passed Wesley in homers, as he blasted 20 to Wesley's 15.

In 1927, Wesley moved to the Cleveland Stars, making way for huge firstbaseman/pitcher Huck Rile, who would play great for many years with the Stars.

In his seven seasons with the Stars, Wesley batted .338 in 330 league games, with 79 homers, 57 doubles and a .613 slugging percentage, second in homers and slugging to only Turkey Stearnes in Detroit Stars history. Wesley also had two 18 game hitting streaks, again second to Turkey who hit in 19 straight.

Wesley did have the highest average in a season of any Detroit Star with his .424 in 1925.

*Some information from Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars by Richard Bak

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