Wilson can't wait to be a full-time dad
Baseball is fun for Pirates shortstop, but fatherhood trumps all
Jacob Wilson learned how to throw a baseball before he even knew how to read or write.
Jack Wilson, his father and Pirates shortstop, made sure Jacob learned about baseball as soon as possible.
"He was in diapers," Wilson said. "Early on, he started throwing real good so I knew he was going to be all right."
All that practice paid off on Sept. 16, 2006, when 4-year-old Jacob stepped onto the field in front of 37,623 fans at PNC Park to throw the ceremonial first pitch on his dad's bobblehead day.
"I was just thinking about him the whole time," Wilson said. "I had to calm him down and tell him to wait a second, wait until they announced his name. Then he threw it in -- a perfect strike.
"I was real proud of him. It was a really good moment for us."
Fatherhood has brought many great moments such as that one for Wilson. He is the father of two -- 5-year-old Jacob and 1-year-old Jaidyn -- and is expecting a third child in September.
Wilson said he cherishes the leadership role he will play in his children's lives.
"Knowing who you are as a person and how you act, how you live your life, is going to directly affect these three kids is special," Wilson said. "It's the best knowing that they're your responsibility."
That responsibility is something he puts above baseball.
Wilson plans on trading in his spikes, cap and uniform for tennis shoes and an untucked shirt of a stay-at-home dad in three or four years. That would put the 29-year-old Wilson in his early thirties -- a time when a baseball player is usually finishing his prime, not considering retirement.
But Wilson doesn't hesitate.
"Oh yeah, I'm gone; I'm out," he said smiling. "I've got bigger and better things to do. Baseball is great and I'll enjoy it. It will definitely be time to move on, and be a Little League coach, be the soccer coach, drive little girls to ballet -- whatever I got to do just to be there."
Wilson said he is not going to leave the game because he doesn't love playing, quite the opposite in fact. He's tired of the road trips, the long days at the park and everything else about being a Major Leaguer that makes it difficult to be with his family.
"I'm looking forward to just being a dad, being there all the time," Wilson said. "Not having my kid talk to me through a web cam, not having my kid having to watch TV to see me because I'm playing in Atlanta or Florida."
When he settles into his retirement, Wilson will stay on the baseball diamond. He said he can't wait to coach Jacob's Little League team, and eventually become a high school coach when Jacob is older.
"Just being able to teach, not just him, but his teammates will be great," Wilson said. "I have such an edge being able to teach them things people don't know unless you've played in the big leagues."
But Wilson is not just interested in Jacob's athletic talents. He's looking forward to teaching his children whatever he can and helping them get through all that life throws at them.
"Just playing with them, knowing that they're going to come to me and I can be there for them," Wilson said. "That's the No. 1 thing, knowing that you teach them how to read and write and all that other stuff."
Jeremy Anders is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.