Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life

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9780988996427: Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life
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Willie Wilson played baseball with the mentality of a football player a grimace, on his face. He helped lead the Kansas City Royals to their first World Series in only his second full season in the Major Leagues. His 1983 cocaine charge could have sent him spiraling downward. Instead, he responded by helping the Royals to the World Series championship in 1985 by batting .367 and scoring two runs and three RBIs in the Royals win over the St. Louis Cardinals. On his way to winning the 1982 batting title, Wilson was the first switch hitter since Mickey Mantle to get 100 hits from both sides of the plate, and his 13 inside-the-park home runs are the most of any modern-day player in history. Drafted by the Royals in the 1974 amateur draft, he quickly made his way through KCs minor league system, making his first appearance with the major league team just two years later. But Wilsons story transcends baseball. With his inspirational tale, Wilson tells of how a shy young man can survive a post-career bankruptcy and turn his life around. He now leads the Willie Wilson Baseball Foundation, hoping to share his experiences with inner-city youth so they can avoid the same missteps he made along the way.

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About the Author:

Royals Hall of Famer Willie Wilson played an integral part in the only two World Series appearances the Royals made, batting .367 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the Royals only World Series title in 1985. A superb lead-off hitter, Wilson led the American League in stolen bases in his second full season in the Major Leagues in 1979, won the teams Player of the Year award in 1980 when he led the league in hits, runs, triples and, singles and won the Gold Glove for defensive excellence. In 1982, Wilson was the Major League batting champion, hitting .332, winning his first trip to the All Star game. A speedster on the base paths, Wilson led the league in triples five times and his 13 inside-the-park home runs are the most by any player in the modern-day era. He has 668 career stolen bases, the 10th most in Major League baseball history. He was voted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 2000. Willie lives in Kansas City where he is head of the Willie Wilson Baseball Foundation. His on and off the field experiences give him a unique opportunity to work with corporations for speaking engagements, team-building exercises and fund-raising events as well as offer baseball and life guidance for inner-city youth in clinics he conducts. Kent Pulliam spent more than 30 years as a sports journalist for The Kansas City Star. He has won several writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Missouri Press Association. He has written two other books: For Wildcats Fans Only and Rising to New Heights: Inside the Jayhawks Huddle. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife Gina.

Review:

Willie played each and every game like it was his last. A great center fielder and leadoff hitter and one of the best base runners I ever played with. He turned singles to doubles doubles to triples and triples into inside-the-park home runs. --George Brett

He's a walking double. When I'm in right field I hope he doesn't get a hit in my area because he'll be running around the bases laughing while I"m juggling the ball. --Reggie Jackson

Willie Wilson was simply the fastest man in the game and his play electrified Royals baseball for many years. His life is full of cherished triumphs and a few struggles overcome--and in Inside the Park he tells the tales of both. Willie was a joy to watch and his story is a joy to read. --Curt Nelson, Director of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame

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