December 13, 1931|
January 14, 2006 (aged 74)|
Wycliffe Nathaniel "Bubba" Morton (December 13, 1931 – January 14, 2006) was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Detroit Tigers (1961–1963), Milwaukee Braves (1963) and California Angels (1966–1969). He batted and threw right-handed.
A native of Washington, D.C., Morton graduated from Armstrong High School in 1950 and, after a stint in the Coast Guard, attended Howard University from 1954 to 1957, earning two varsity letters each in baseball and football.
In 1955 Morton became the third black player signed by the Detroit Tigers (though others beat him to the major leagues), one of the first black men to play for the post-war Terre Haute Huts of the Three-I League in 1956, and one of the first black men to play for the Durham Bulls. With the Bulls in 1957, he batted .310 with 18 home runs and 82 to lead the club to their first championship.
A light-hitting, strong-armed outfielder, Morton played with the Tigers as a reserve in parts of three seasons. He was purchased by the Milwaukee Braves from Detroit in the 1963 mid-season. During his brief tenure with the Braves, he was the roommate of Hank Aaron. The next two years Morton played at Triple-A for the Milwaukee Braves and Cleveland Indians organizations, until he was acquired by the California Angels at the end of the 1965 season.
Morton saw considerable action with the Angels between 1966 and 1969. A prime pinch-hitter, his best season was 1967, when he hit .313 in 80 games. During the same period he committed only one error in 251 chances in the outfield.
In a seven-season career, Morton was a .267 hitter with 14 home runs and 128 RBI in 451 games.
In the middle of his major league career, Morton was a member of the Seattle Angels team that won the Pacific Coast League pennant in 1966. He played with the Angels through 1969, then moved to Japan to play the 1970 season with the Toei Flyers.
In 1972, Morton was hired by athletics director Joe Kearney as head coach of the baseball program at the University of Washington from 1972 to 1976. He is distinguished as UW's first black head coach in any sport.
Morton died in Seattle, Washington, at the age of 74.
[edit | edit source]
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Baseball Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Library
- BR Bullpen
- Seattle Times
- Venezuelan Baseball League
- Washington Huskies
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