Russell Wilson

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Russell Wilson

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Russell Wilson spent two years as a minor league infielder then played quarterback in the NFL.

The Baltimore Orioles took Wilson in the 41st round of the 2007 amateur draft. He hit .296/.351/.417 as a college freshman. Playing quarterback for NC State in 2008, he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in QB rating (133.9) and touchdown passes (17) and was the first freshman to win All-ACC honors at quarterback. A concussion in a bowl game sidelined him for most of the 2009 baseball season; he hit .236/.333/.292 when he returned to the diamond. That fall, he was 4th in the country with 31 touchdown passes, again leading the ACC. He batted .306/.443/.490 his junior season in baseball, then was picked by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft.

Assigned to the Tri-City Dust Devils in the summer of 2010, Wilson hit .230/.336/.377 but fielded .993 at second base, with just one error in 31 games. Returning to college for another year of football, he threw for over 3,000 yards and 26 more touchdowns. He hit .228/.366/.342 with 15 steals in 17 tries for the 2011 Asheville Tourists then retired from baseball to focus on football. The move paid off, as he became starting quarterback of the 2012 Seattle Seahawks.

His baseball career was not quite over, however, as he was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2013 Rule V Draft, in what was generally viewed as an attempt by Texas to grab some easy headlines. In February 2014, he guided Seattle to the Super Bowl title, beating Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. That win only served to increase Wilson's profile and create additional interest in baseball circles. The Rangers sent him an open invitation to come to their spring training site in Surprise, AZ, while the minor league Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Rangers' Class A affiliate, offered to make a substantial donation to a charity of his choice if he would suit up for a game, or even simply make an appearance at their stadium. He did show up at the Rangers' camp and worked out with the team, although the team brass was quick to point out that there was no way he would take part in a Cactus League contest because of the risk of injury. Manager Ron Washington added that the purpose of Wilson's visit was to serve as motivation for his players, with the hope that his character and winning attitude would rub off on younger players. For his part, Wilson told reporters that he was there because of a deep-seated love of baseball and that he hoped his example would encourage more African-American kids to take up the sport. He added that he still had the dream of playing both sports. He was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Ballpark in Arlington before the Rangers' third game of the season, April 2nd against the Philadelphia Phillies.

In February of 2015, Wilson led the Seahawks to the Super Bowl once gain, although this time they were defeated by the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, another former baseball player. He returned to pay a visit to the Rangers' camp that March, and this time impressed with his bat, as he managed to hit a homer in batting practice. In February of 2018, he was traded to the New York Yankees in return for future considerations. The Yankees were not planning to try to talk him into taking up baseball again, but wanted him to come to spring training to participate in workouts and talk to players about some of the psychological aspects of playing top-level sports. For his part, Wilson wanted to do more, even play in a Grapefruit League game, something GM Brian Cashman said he was not opposed to, as long as the Seahawks were also in agreement. He did get to play on March 2nd, striking out against Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves in his only at-bat when he pinch-hit for Aaron Judge.


Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Bowman: "In Minors, Russell Wilson tackled tornadoes: Rome Braves GM Dunn saw qualities in quarterback during tragedy",, January 27, 2015. [1]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Russell Wilson says joining the Yankees is not a stunt, fulfills childhood dream", USA Today Sports, February 26, 2018. [2]
  • Brian McClintock: "Little League sparked Wilson's love of sports: Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl champion began with baseball",, December 23, 2015. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Russell Wilson a hit with Rangers, keeps baseball dream alive", USA Today, March 4, 2014 [4]
  • Steve Popper: "Russell Wilson gets his moment, but not a hit, for Yankees", USA Today Sport, March 2, 2018. [5]

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