Wilson was an intense, no-holds-barred dynamo on Negro League baseball fields, intimidating opposing pitchers and umpires with his potent bat and powerful fists. He was built like a wrestler, and his fights with umpires and players were as legendary as his will to win. His nickname, Boojum, is derived from the sound of his line drives slamming off the fences.
Playing for the Baltimore Black Sox, Wilson was the Eastern Colored League’s batting champ (.408) in 1927. In 1929 he led the league in stolen bases, helping Baltimore win the pennant as a member of their “million-dollar infield.” He led the league in doubles in 1930 while batting .372. He played winter ball in Cuba from 1925 to 1929, twice leading the league in average by hitting more than .400.
Wilson was briefly a Homestead Gray before he and most of his teammates jumped to the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1932. In 1933 he joined the Philadelphia Stars. Webster McDonald, the team’s pitcher-manager, appointed him team captain in order to constructively channel Wilson’s competitive spirit. While this tactic was somewhat successful (Wilson hit a league-high .412 in leading the club to the 1934 pennant), it did not prevent the pugnacious slugger from punching an umpire in the 1934 playoffs.
The Homestead Grays had won three straight pennants when Wilson joined them in 1940. When he retired at age 46 after the 1945 season, the Grays had won nine consecutive pennants, a pro sports record. Wilson topped the .339 mark three times and played in three Black World Series for Homestead.
Wilson played in the East-West all-star games from 1933 to 1935, batting .455. He holds the third highest average in Negro League history, and ranks 10th in lifetime home runs. He hit .356 in 26 games against white major leaguers.