Nickname: Willie, Bill
Teams: Nashville Black Vols (1947), Asheville Blues (1948), Birmingham Black Barons (1948-1951), Mexican League (1951-1952), minor leagues (1953-1958), major leagues (1954)
Height: 5' 10'' Weight: 170
Born: September 3, 1924, Atlanta, Georgia
This right-handed hurler mixed a curve and a fastball effectively to fashion a 6-4 record with a 3.30 ERA to help pitch the Birmingham Black Barons to a Negro American League pennant in 1948.In the World Series he was the workhorse of the Black Barons, pitching in 3 games and gaining the team's only victory over the strong Homestead Grays. The following year he dropped to a 7-12 record but threw 3 shutout innings for the West in the All Star game.
In 1950, his last year with Birmingham, he rebounded with a 9-6 record and a 2.41 ERA and continued his artistry with Jalapa in the Mexican League, where he was 10-1 with a 3.88 ERA. After slipping to a 1-4 mark in another season at Jalapa, he spent two years with Oklahoma City in the Texas League (9-1, 2.14 ERA and 16-13, 3.62 ERA).
In 1954, after a 10-13 season at Columbus in the American Association, the right-hander had a brief fling at the major leagues when the St. Louis Cardinals brought the thirty-year-old up to the parent club, where he pitched in 3 games and lost his only decision. The remainder of his career was spent with Houston in the Texas League, where he fashioned seasons of 17-11 and 10-6 in 1955-1956, and Rochester in the International League, where he managed a composite 16-18 for the years 1956-1959. During his career he also pitched winters in Cuba (2-2 in 1950-1951) and Puerto Rico (12-6 in 1957-1958).
He began his professional career with the Nashville Black Vols in 1947 and began the next season with the Asheville Blues in the Negro Southern League prior to joining the Birmingham Black Barons later in the 1948 season. While a successful pitcher, as a batter he was relatively ineffective and showed a high strikeout ratio. In addition to playing baseball, Greason pursued goals in higher education, and after retiring from baseball he became a minister.
Baseball Career Highlights:
"Defeating the Kansas City Monarchs in the playoffs to play in the 1948 Negro Leagues World Series. During the World Series, we played against the Home stead Grays. I pitched three games and led the team to its only series victory. Also, winning the 1954 Caribbean Championship was very special to me."
"I earned degrees from the Birmingham Easonian Baptist Bible College (where I also taught) and graduated from Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama. Becoming the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, I ministered the congregation for 29 years. I am a member of the 16th Street Baptist Church, in Birmingham, Alabama."
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• Negro Leagues World Series (Birmingham Black Barons) - 1948
• East-West All Star - 1949
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.