Wilson was one of the National League
's top catchers of the 1920s and 1930s. After
catching more than 100 games for the first time in 1927, the native Philadelphian
was traded to the Cardinals and helped them to pennants in 1928, 1930, and 1931.
A respected handler of pitchers, with St. Louis he led NL catchers in putouts three
times, double plays three times, and assists twice. He hit for average with little
power, but had 20 or more doubles in five different seasons.
After the 1933 season,
Wilson was dealt back to the Phillies to become their playing manager. In five years,
he never finished higher than seventh. Given a job coaching for the Reds in 1939,
he got an opportunity to play in 1940 when injuries and Willard Hershberger's suicide
decimated the Cincinnati catching corps. At 40, after playing in only 16 regular
season games, he caught six of seven World Series games against the Tigers, batted
.353, and stole the only base of the Series. Replacing the popular Gabby Hartnett
in 1941, he managed the Cubs for just over three seasons, all in the second division.
The Cubs won their opening game in 1944, then lost 9 straight and Wilson resigned.
He joined the Reds again as a coach a few days later, retiring after the 1946 season.