Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#332 Glenn Wilson - Detroit Tigers

Glenn Wilson's rookie card shows him with a mismatched road jersey and home helmet, most likely from a spring training game.  The cameo pic displays Wilson sans mustache and judging from the BRUT add in the background it was taken at Yankee Stadium.
Player: Glenn Wilson  wasn't drafted out of high school but played well enough at Sam Houston State to be drafted in the first round by the Detroit Tigers in 1980.  After an error filled season playing thirdbase at Montgomery he was moved to centerfield in '81.  The Tigers thought so much of Wilson's defense that they moved ball hawking Chet Lemon to rightfield to make room for the rookie in Detroit in '82.  Wilson made a very good impression hitting .292 and slugging .457 in 342 plate appearances.

Wilson and Lemon flipped positions in '83 but despite playing full time Wilson's numbers were down and he clubbed one less homer (12,11) than he did in his rookie year.  As the 1984 season approached Wilson found himself the odd man out in a crowded outfield that included Lemon, Larry Herndon, and Kirk Gibson.  Late in spring training the Tigers made a fateful trade sending Wilson and Johnny Wockenfuss to the Phillies for Willie Hernandez and Dave Bergman.  Hernandez solidified the Tigers pen winning a Cy Young and MVP as the Tigers rolled to a World Series.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Wilson was initially a disappointment batting only .240 with little pop his first year.  The next three years would form the peak of his career as he played over 150 games each season.  His best year was '85 when he drove in 102 runs, benefiting greatly from batting behind Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.  Wilson wasn't a big power hitter, usually hitting 10-15 dingers a year but hit for a decent average and played good defense.  In fact Wilson's arm was his best asset as he led the NL in assists three times in the '80s.

Wilson spent the last years of the decade bouncing from Seattle to Pittsburgh in '88 and then to Houston in mid '89.  His last year as a regular came in 1990 with the Astros where he batted .245 with 10  homers.  Wilson played in the minors the next few years and wound down his career with a handful of games for Pittsburgh in '93.

Flipside:  Wilson was really pushed through the Tigers system and never played below AA ball in the minors. 

Oddball:  Despite making decent money in the majors Wilson owned and operated a service station in the offseason.  And when I mean operated, I mean he pumped the gas.  Not one to sit in an air conditioned office, Wilson fulfilled a life long dream when he bought the station in 1985.

History:  Wilson appeared in one All-Star game ('85) and never played in the post season.  He was a year too late arriving in Philly and left Detroit a year too soon.  Wilson hit double digits in home runs seven times but never hit more than 15.
These days you can hire Wilson for a few grand to promote your son's baseball career