Signed as a pitcher by the Boston Red Sox in 1951, Bill Slack’s professional baseball career would span six decades. As a rookie with Roanoke of the Class-B Piedmont League, Slack won 15 games and hit .361. His finest of 13 minor league seasons was in 1957, when notched 16 wins and posted a 2.24 ERA for Albany of the Class-A Eastern League. He would reach the Triple-A level in the Boston chain, before opting to focus on a coaching career.
Beginning as a manager in the Red Sox organization in 1961, Slack would soon settle in Winston-Salem, Carolina, where he would lead the Red Sox Class-A team for parts of 13 seasons. During that time, his teams captured four Carolina League titles and he helped hone the skills of Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk and Jim Lonborg. When the Red Sox left the Carolina League in 1985, the Atlanta Braves hired Slack as a minor league pitching instructor. During his 14 years in the Braves organization, he aided in the development of, among others, Steve Avery, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine.
Slack attempted to retire in 1999, but the Texas Rangers convinced him to accept a minor league coaching role in 2001 and he would serve as the pitching coach for Carolina League’s Wilmington Blue Rocks in the Kansas City Royals organization the following two years. A legend in Winston-Salem, Slack has more wins than any other manager in Carolina League history. For his efforts, he was named the manager on the Carolina League all-time, all-star team in 1995 and his No. 37 is honoured on the left field wall at Ernie Shore Field in Winston-Salem.