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Bill Perkins

William Gamiel Perkins
Nicknames: Bill, George, Cy

Career: 1928-1948
Positions: c, if, manager
Teams: Birmingham Black Barons (1928-1930), Cleveland Cubs (1931), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1931-1936), Cleveland Stars (1932), Homestead Grays (1932), Santo Domingo (1937), Philadelphia Stars (1938-1939, 1946-1947), Baltimore Elite Giants (1940, 1947-1948), New York Black Yankees (1945-1946)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 5' 11''  Weight: 195
Born: Georgia

Perkins was Satchel Paige's favorite catcher, beginning as a batter with the Birmingham Black Barons and continuing together with the Cleveland Cubs, Pittsburgh Crawfords, and in the Dominican Republic. While not a mobile catcher, he was a good receiver with a strong arm and wore a chest protector with the words "Thou shalt not steal" printed on front. On the bases he was slow and infrequently stole a base. At the plate he was not a good bunter but had good power and hit with appreciable consistency, batting .244 and .313 with the Black Barons in 1928 and 1930, respectively. Going with Paige to the Cleveland Cubs and then to the Pittsburgh Crawfords when the team was organized, the hard-hitting catcher-outfielder hit .335, .360, .291, and .265 in 1932-1933 and 1935-1936, and appeared in the 1934 and 1940 East-West All Star games. Always a good hitter, he maintained a .288 average while playing five winters in Cuba.

With the Crawfords he had the misfortune of playing behind Josh Gibson, but owner Gus Greenlee would not trade him, using him instead as a backup catcher and part-time outfielder. In the spring of 1937 he jumped to Santo Domingo with Paige, catching and playing the outfield while hitting .253 to help the Ciudad Trujillo team win the championship. Perkins, Paige, and most of the other "jumpers" were suspended by the league and, upon returning to the United States, formed their own team, touring the country for the remainder of the season. The suspensions were soon lifted, and beginning in 1938, Perkins joined the Philadelphia Stars, with incomplete statistics showing averages of .313 and .299 for his first two years with them.

In 1940 he joined the Baltimore Elite Giants and hit .279, earning a trip to the All Star game. Later in the 1940s, he hit .214 (1945) and .139 (1947) in limited play, closing out his career the following season. He was killed in a restaurant, but the circumstances surrounding the incident are uncertain.

Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.