h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Willie Wilson

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

Willie Wilson back 2Willie Wilson back 1

Holy crap, Willie Wilson was a freak athlete. I wasn’t really recruited for any sport, so I don’t know how many scholarships real athletes receive, but 200 seems like a ton especially because there are currently only 211 Division-I NCAA baseball teams and most go pro in something other than sports.

But baseball wasn’t Wilson’s only sport. Clearly he had the build (6’3 and 190) and speed (668 career SBs) required to succeed at multiple sports. In fact, according to Wikipedia, he was a three sport star from Summit, New Jersey (the hometown of several of my college buddies, let’s call them Lippdale and Roni or Kevo and Timbo).

What limited Wilson from being a superstar was his propensity to strike out (1,144 times in 7,731 ABs), while not being able to walk much (just 425 BBs). In the 1980 World Series, Wilson set a record by striking out 12 times. Now, he did lead the league in hitting in 1982 with a .332 AVG; however, he only posted a .365 OBP. That 1982 season should be remembered as the luckiest of his life (.380 BAbip compared to .329 for his career).

What’s funny to me is that, apparently, Wilson wasn’t that interesting of a ball-player – or at least not baseball card interesting. Looking at his 1991 and 1987 Topps cards, you find the same exact exceptional athletic factoid.

However, that is clearly not his claim to fame. Along with Vida Blue and two others, Wilson became the first active major league ballplayer to serve jail time. Oh the 1980s and cocaine.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] His fiery personal life more reflected his mound than his off-season work habits. Finley owns a career 7.3 K/9 rate and 2,610 strike-outs. That is more than Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Don Drysdale, Christy Mathewson, Lefty Groove, Jim Palmer and Vida Blue. […]

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