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Francis, Wilson G. (Lefty) (1976)

Francis, a native of Corea, later of Boothbay, was a star southpaw pitcher for Higgins Classical Institute and Dover Foxcroft in the Eastern Maine League. He had made rapid progress through organized baseball wehn WWII intervene. He, like Weeks was knocked out of major league ball by the war. He was a feared lefty.

Portland Press Herald 1976
Francis, Wilson G. (Lefty) (76)

From Boothbay Register

Wilson G. Francis and Jane (Blood) Francis

"Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 - 9:45am

Wilson Guy Francis, 94, of Boothbay, died March 6, 2014.

He was born April 4, 1919 in the small town of Corea, son of Guy Francis and Mara (Crowley) Francis, and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse in Winter Harbor for nine years. After one year at Winter Harbor High School, he transferred to Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston.

At Higgins, he began a stellar career as a baseball pitcher. "Lefty" Francis continued his baseball career in the old Tri-County League, pitching for Dover-Foxcroft Sebec Lakers. He went on to play semi-pro baseball in the Virginia State League for Harrisonburg in 1940. In March of 1941, Wilson was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. There he continued his athletic career, leading his company basketball team to a championship and pitching for the Fort Benning Doughboys. During the first season, he went 25-4, pitched two no-hitters and struck out 21 and 22 batters in two separate games. He was named Fort Benning Athlete of the Year in 1941.

In December of 1942, he was accepted into Officers Candidate School and at graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

On July 4, 1943, Wilson and Jane Blood of Dover-Foxcroft were married at Fort Benning.

In September of 1943, Wilson was signed to a contract to the Cincinnati Redlegs, but because of threats of war, his major league career had to wait.

In March of 1944, his unit was shipped to England and three months later, he and his unit were headed to Normandy, France. While on a patrol through a small French village, Wilson was struck in the left leg by machine gun fire. Doctors wanted to amputate his leg because of the bad wound, but Wilson refused and, after much therapy, he recovered. He spent most of the rest of his war years duty in a V.A. hospital. Wilson was discharged from the Army in 1945.

His promising major league baseball career cut short, Wilson returned to Maine and continued to play semi-pro baseball. Because he had to forfeit his contract with the Reds, they awarded him with a lifetime pass to any major or minor league baseball game.

Wilson became a self-employed lobster fisherman in Prospect Harbor after the war. In 1960-61, Wilson, his father and son built the lobster pound at Hodgdon Island. After selling the lobster pound in 1965, Wilson eventually bought it back in 1973 after it had changed hands a second time.

His baseball career was topped off, when on December 5, 1976, he was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.

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