OAKLAND (CBS SF) – With his 31st birthday just days away, Oakland Athletics infielder Jacob Wilson could have been given up on his dream to play major league baseball after languishing for nine years in the minors.
Instead, his patience was finally rewarded as Wilson, called up earlier this month to the bigs, smacked his first major league hit in the A’s 6-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels at the Coliseum Tuesday.
Wilson singled up the middle to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning. He was lifted for a pinch runner and had 25 happy teammates waiting for him in the dugout. “To go out and get the first hit out of the way with was, words don’t really describe the feeling you get from that,” Wilson said after the game.
The 30-year old infielder was called up by the A’s earlier this month and made his major league debut nine years after he was drafted in the 10th round. He spent nine seasons in the minors and one season in Korea. At this time last summer, Wilson thought his baseball career might be over when he did not play in 2020 because the minor league season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“I sat at home last year and didn’t get to play and that was the one time where it set in that there’s a possibility that dream doesn’t come true,” said Wilson.
A’s starting pitcher James Kaprielian tossed six shutout innings on Tuesday, but during his postgame press conference it was Wilson’s hit and the realization of his dream that had Kaprielian choked up.
“It’s just a really special moment to see somebody like that come up here and get that knock,” Kaprielian told reporters as he fought back tears.
Wilson was cut loose by the Nationals but received a call from the A’s this offseason for a chance to join their Triple A team in Las Vegas and keep chasing his dream. He put himself in position for a call-up by hitting 14 home runs in 49 games.
“At my age and as long as I’ve played with no big league time, I didn’t know what opportunities were going to be available to me so to get that phone call and be able to sign with Oakland this offseason was a big relief.”