How Austin’s Willie Wells Pioneered the Modern Batting Helmet

How Austin’s Willie Wells Pioneered the Modern Batting Helmet

Willie Wells in a Newark Eagles uniform. Wells played for the Eagles 1936-1939, and then again in 1942 and 1945.One afternoon in 1939, Willie Wells stepped up to the plate in Buffalo, New York, clutching a bat in hand. As a seasoned ballplayer in his early thirties, Wells had shored up a reputation that made his opponents quiver in their cleats: a standout shortstop for the Newark Eagles, a Negro League team based in New Jersey, Wells was known for his prowess in this critical defensive position tucked between second and third base—and the fact that he flexed a decent share of home runs. “Ballplayers could not get the ball past Willie Wells,” says Larry Lester, a historian and cofounder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. “He was a great shortstop who could hit, which was not the norm back…View Original Post

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Source: Texas Monthly