Photo: 1941 Mooresville Moors
Little known fact: Although it is thought Hoyt Wilhelm broke into professional baseball in 1942 with the Mooresville Moors (an independent team, not affiliated with a major league club), he actually suited up for the Mooresville Moors in 1941 (after graduating high school on May 3, 1941). However, despite the fact he spent 3 weeks with the team -- he signed May 6, 1941 (see signing in first image below) and was released May 27, 1941 (see release in second and third images below) -- it is not known that he played a game in 1941 for the Moors.
May 7, 1941, Kannapolis Daily Independent clipping
(Hoyt Wilhelm's signing with Mooresville)
The reference to Wilhelm pitching against the Davidson College freshmen team happened on April 17, 1941, when Cornelius High beat the Davidson College freshmen 14-3 (score from The Davidsonian newspaper, April 24, 1941).
May 28, 1941, Kannapolis Daily Independent clipping
(Hoyt Wilhelm released from Mooresville)
June 5, 1941, Sporting News clipping
(Hoyt Wilhelm released from Mooresville)
Photos: 1942 Mooresville Moors
(1st photo from collection; 2nd photo, The Charlotte Observer)
On April 12, 1942, Wilhelm was one of 20 players for practice and tryouts with the Mooresville Moors. He would sign, be released (June 28), and sign again to end the 1942 season with a 10-3 record, 4.25 ERA in 8 games started. At the plate, he hit .180 in 50 at-bats, and had 1 double and 1 triple. The Moors made the N.C. State League playoffs, but lost in the first round, 3 games to 0 games to the Landis Millers.
The Greenville (S.C.) News, Dec. 16, 1942
Interesting note: The entire 1942 Mooresville Moors team had entered military service by December of 1942. It was such a fascinating note, that it ran in papers all over the United States (from the West Coast to the East Coast) in December of 1942 and January of 1943. However, the note erroneously reported that Wilhelm won 11 games in 1942 as opposed to 10 games.
Photo: June 11, 1947, The Charlotte Observer
On Feb. 5, 1946, Hoyt Wilhelm signed with the Mooresville Moors, a return after serving in the military during World War II, where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.
In 1946 he was 21-8, with a 2.47 ERA and was named an All-Star in the North Carolina State League, while helping the Moors win the playoffs (after finishing fourth in the regular-season). At the plate that season, he hit .202, with 21 hits and 5 doubles in 104 at-bats.
Photo: September 3, 1947, The Charlotte Observer
In 1947 Hoyt Wilhelm became a 20-game winner again, going 20-7, with a 3.38 ERA, while recording his best season at the plate: .299, 44 hits, 8 doubles, 2 home runs in 147 at-bats. He again helped the Moors to another North Carolina State League title, winning the regular-season and the playoffs.
Note: In early October of 1947 (Mooresville Tribune), the Boston Braves purchased Hoyt Wilhelm from Mooresville. On Nov. 20, 1947, the N.Y. Giants drafted Wilhelm from the Boston Braves in the 1947 minor league draft.
Photo: 1946 Mooresville Moors team (Wilhelm is bottom row, far right)
The 1946 Mooresville Moors finished fourth in the North Carolina State League regular season with a 57-52 record, squeaking into the playoffs as the fourth and last team, but they won the playoffs. In the first round, the Moors beat the Landis Millers, 4 games to 3 games. In the Championship Series, the Moors beat the Concord Weavers, 4 games to 2 games.
Note: After the Moors beat Concord, they were supposed to face the winner of the Tobacco State playoffs, Angier-Fuquay, in a series.
Photo: 1947 Mooresville Moors team (Wilhelm is bottom row, third from left)
The 1947 Mooresville Moors finished first in the North Carolina State League regular season with a 68-43 record and won the playoffs, as well. In the first round, the Moors beat the Hickory Rebels, 4 games to 3 games. In the Championship Series, the Moors beat the Lexington Indians, 4 games to 3 games.
Photo: Mooresville Baseball Stadium
Home to the Mooresville Moors, who Hoyt Wilhelm played for in 1942, 1946 and 1947. The stands were torn down in the 1950s, but the field and green outfield wall still remain. Now called Moor Field Baseball Park, it is home to the Mooresville Spinners of the Summer Collegiate Baseball League. The stadium is located at 691 S. Broad Street, Mooresville, NC 28115