There were a couple seasons, when this dude Preston Wilson was an absolute masher. I might just remember him that way, though, because of how sick he was in the MVP baseball game series. Wilson was drafted right out of high school in the second round of the 1992 draft at age seventeen. He toiled in the Mets’ minor league system for a few seasons. He also hung out in Australia for a while, playing the 1997 season for the Hunter Eagles of the Australian League.
Preston Wilson finally made his debut in the Majors in 1998 for the Mets, but was shortly thereafter involved in the Mike Piazza trade, which sent Wilson to the Marlins, and the future Hall of Famer Piazza, to New York.
Wilson’s first full season for the Marlins was a rousing success. He hit 26 homers and drove in 71 runs, in a season that saw him finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting (only to obscure pitcher Scott Williamson). Wilson’s second full season in 2000, was another step in the right direction, as he hit 31 home runs, driving in 121. Wilson also joined the 30-30 club in 2000. He stole 36 bases.
Wilson had one more great season before the end of his run in the Majors. In November of 2002 Preston Wilson was traded to the Rockies in the deal that sent Mike Hampton, among others, to the Marlins. In Wilson’s first season with the Rockies in 2003, he took advantage of the thin air at Coors Field (and, who are we kidding, probably the miracle of modern pharmacology). He led the National League in RBI (141) It was his lone All-Star season, and he finished 16th in the NL MVP balloting.
Wilson never again lived up to the gaudy numbers he displayed sporadically in the early part of the last decade, but he played four more full seasons, bouncing around between the Nationals, Astros, and finally the Cardinals, the team with which he has his only World Series ring. Baseball-Reference ranks Wilson as the 1365th best hitter to have ever lived. But for a few seasons there, he was one of the very best.