Preston Wilson

Preston James Richard Wilson (born July 19, 1974) is an American former professional baseball center fielder. He played all or parts of ten seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1998 to 2007 for the New York Mets, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals. He is both the nephew and stepson of former New York Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson. (Mookie married Wilson's mother after his brother fathered Wilson.)[1]

Preston Wilson
Wilson with the Cardinals in 2007
Center fielder
Born: (1974-07-19) July 19, 1974
Bamberg, South Carolina, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 7, 1998, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
May 5, 2007, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.264
Home runs189
Runs batted in668
Career highlights and awards
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
World Junior Baseball Championship
1992 Monterrey Team

Professional career

New York Mets

At age 17, Wilson was drafted by the Mets out of Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School in the first round of the 1992 MLB draft.[2] The Baseball America 1992 High School Player of the Year,[3] Wilson was ranked among the top 100 prospects in baseball by the magazine four times between 1993 and 1998.[4] He was known to be an aggressive hitter, according to scouts and media sources, based on his propensity to swing at the first pitch and his high strikeout rates.[5][6]

After spending five seasons below Triple A and a season in 1998 in the Australian Baseball League with the Hunter Eagles,[7] Wilson finally reached the majors in May 1998. Two weeks after joining the Mets, he was traded to the Florida Marlins with two other minor leaguers for Mike Piazza. He returned to the minor leagues for most of the season.

Florida Marlins

In 1999, Wilson was the Marlins' regular center fielder. Wilson led the team in home runs and runs batted in as a rookie, and he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting to Cincinnati Reds reliever Scott Williamson.

The following season, Wilson joined the 30–30 club, slugging 31 home runs and stealing 36 bases. He added 121 RBIs, good for eighth in the National League. In 2000, he led the major leagues in power-speed number (33.3).[8] Wilson also lived up to his reputation as a free swinger, nearly setting a new record for most strikeouts in a season. His total of 187 fell two shy of Bobby Bonds' record at the time.

Wilson hit 23 home runs in each of the following two seasons, though his overall production dipped, partially due to missed games.

Colorado Rockies

After the 2002 season, Wilson was involved in a six-player deal which sent him and three other players to the Colorado Rockies for Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton. Wilson rebounded in 2003, when he set career highs with a .282 batting average, 43 doubles, and 36 home runs. He also led the National League with 141 runs batted in and was named to his first All-Star team.

Bothered by a knee injury in 2004, Wilson was limited to 58 games.

Washington Nationals

Wilson was acquired by the Washington Nationals in July 2005 for pitcher Zach Day and outfielder J. J. Davis. He led the team in homers and RBIs during the second half of the season, finishing with 25 and 90 respectively.[9]

Houston Astros

In the 2005 offseason, Wilson signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Houston Astros, with a team option of three additional years at $24 million and a buyout of $500,000.[1] Previously a center fielder, Wilson shifted to left since Willy Taveras, the previous season's Rookie of the Year runner-up, was already occupying the position.[6] On April 17, 2006, Wilson set an Astros record by striking out five times in a single game. This tied the MLB record.[10] Despite early struggles, Wilson was batting .284 with 46 RBIs at the 2006 All-Star Break, with the potential for another 100+ RBI season. However, his power numbers were well below his previous years.

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals signed Wilson on August 18, 2006. The Cardinals took another chance on a discarded veteran since veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds was out with post concussion syndrome. Wilson was designated for assignment by Houston on Saturday, August 12, before ultimately being given his release. He joined his new team six days later and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup. Wilson batted sixth and played right field, with Juan Encarnación moving to center field. He made an instant impact for the Cardinals, hitting a home run in an 11–3 rout of the Chicago Cubs on the 18th. The Cardinals went on to become World Champions, giving Wilson a World Series ring, as his stepfather Mookie had in 1986.[11]

The Cardinals re-signed Wilson for 2007, but he suffered a knee injury in early May and missed the rest of the 2007 season. After the end of the 2007 season Wilson was released. Wilson generated little interest during spring training 2008, leaving him a free agent.[12]

On February 14, 2009, Wilson announced his retirement from Major League Baseball.

Long Island Ducks

On March 21, 2009, Preston was signed by the Long Island Ducks. He played under another former New York Mets player in Gary Carter, who was the manager of the Ducks. Wilson played in 48 games for the Ducks, hitting .304 with 7 home runs, 37 RBI, a .344 on-base percentage, and a .474 slugging percentage. He did not return to the Ducks for the 2010 season, and was considering a comeback to the major leagues,[13] but never played professionally again.

After baseball

Wilson spent several years as an analyst for Fox Sports Florida's coverage of the Miami Marlins alongside former Marlins players Jeff Conine and Carl Pavano. In 2016, Wilson, along with Eduardo Perez and Al Leiter, served as an analyst with play-by-play man Rich Waltz. This analyst rotation come about after the Marlins fired longtime analyst Tommy Hutton after the 2015 season. Also in 2016, when his Marlins schedule did not conflict, Wilson served as an analyst for MLB Network. Additionally, Wilson hosted "Marlins Clubhouse", a magazine-style TV show for Fox Sports Florida.[14]

Starting in the 2018 season, Wilson worked for the AT&T Sports Network covering the Houston Astros as a field reporter.

See also


  1. "Wilson agrees to $4M, one-year deal with Astros". Associated Press. 2006-01-03. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  2. "Preston James Richard Wilson". Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  3. "Preston Wilson: Biography and Career Highlights". Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  4. "All-Time Top 100 Prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  5. "Scouting Report: Preston Wilson, CF, Rockies". Sporting News. 2003-07-09. Archived from the original on 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  6. Wilson adds punch to Astros, Houston Chronicle Archived June 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Flintoff & Dunn's AUSTRALIAN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  8. Progressive Leaders &amp Records for Power-Speed # |
  9. "Nationals' notable July trades". Washington Nationals. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  10. "". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  11. "Mookie Wilson Stats, Fantasy & News". Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  12. Bloom, Barry M. "Big names left out in the cold this spring",, 2 March 2008.
  13. "Preston Wilson returning to majors?". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  14. foxsports (2015-03-02). "FOX Sports Florida announces 150-game Miami Marlins 2015 TV schedule". FOX Sports. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
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