Popular Major League Baseball player, William Hayward Wilson, nicknamed “Mookie” as a small child, has an inspiring story to share. His passion for baseball goes back to before his high school years when his father, a hard-working sharecropper, taught him how to play the game.
His autobiography, Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets, co-written with Erik Sherman, is Wilson’s side of the story — the side fans didn’t necessarily get to see during his baseball career. For instance, when he hit the ground ball in the 1986 World Series, some people blamed the Red Sox superstition of the “curse of the bambino.” Wilson retells what actually happened on that day.
In another chapter, Wilson relates the antics of a trio of players that called themselves the “Scum Bunch.” The players in this infamous trio were involved in four on-field brawls as well as some debauchery in the Houston night club Cooters.
To top off their trip, they trashed their flight on the way home from the National League Championship Series. When their atrocious off-field behavior began to eclipse their on-field success, Wilson held himself high above the fray.
This is the story of a man who didn’t let fame go to his head. When positive role models in sports were hard to find, having succumbed to their own arrogance and greed, Wilson kept his eye on the ball and always acted with honor and humility.
Wilson’s good deeds didn’t stop there. Outside of baseball, Wilson and his wife started a school for girls called Mookie’s Roses that aimed to reach inner-city, low-income teenagers. He and his family also released a gospel album in 2001 titled, Don’t Worry, the Lord Will Carry You Through.
For baseball fans, especially New York Mets fans, this book is a must-read. There is more to Mookie Wilson than just baseball. Get to know this baseball legend in a few blissful hours of reading.
More on Mookie
Wilson continued to play throughout high school and college. When his college team at the University of South Carolina was discontinued, Wilson carried on his love affair with the sport at Spartanburg Methodist College. He attended Spartanburg for two years until South Carolina brought back its baseball team.
In 1977, he was drafted by the Mets in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft. He performed spectacularly, batting .284 with 22 home runs, 184 runs batted in and 160 stolen bases within four seasons. He earned the award for International League Rookie of the Year in 1979 and immediately became a fan favorite.
Mookie became known as the Mets’ “stolen base king,” stealing at least one base in almost every game he played. In 1984, he broke the Mets’ team record for the most stolen bases, with a total of 58 bases stolen.
In the 1986 World Series, a smart move at bat, combined with incredible speed, allowed Ray Knight to score a run for the Mets. Wilson is best remembered as the Met that hit the ground ball that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs and into right field. The Mets eventually went on to win the 1986 World Series. In 1996, Wilson was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame.
From 1996-2000, Wilson served as first base coach for the Mets. He has since gone on to work with other teams. He is also a Christian minister.