After being selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 24th round of the 2003 Draft, Brian Wilson went on to have a successful career for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ archrival. Wilson won two World Series and was a three-time All-Star during his tenure with the Giants.
Though, when the Giants won the World Series in 2012, Wilson was limited to just two relief appearances before undergoing the second Tommy John surgery of his career. Wilson returned from injury during the second half of the 2013 season, and with the Dodgers.
He remained with Los Angeles through the following season before getting released in December 2014. Wilson has not pitched — in the Minors or Majors — since that time.
However, the 34-year-old is hoping to make an MLB return as a knuckleball pitcher, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports:
Brian Wilson intends to resume his pitching career as a knuckleballer.
“That right there,” Wilson said while pulling off his muck-caked shoes, “was an MVP-Cy Young knuckleball. You can write that down, too. No joke.”
“I can already see myself out there,” he said, “throwing up some waffles.”
Wilson briefly experimented with a knuckleball during Spring Training in 2014. Although he’s essentially reinventing himself after a career relying on a precise fastball and slider, throwing a knuckleball has long been part of the plan:
“I always said that once my career was over I was coming back as a knuckleballer,” he said. “I’m good with it. Man, I get to play a game. It’s going to be pretty fun.”
Over parts of seven seasons with the Giants, he converted 171 saves, sported a 3.21 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 1.34 WHIP, and notched 407 strikeouts in 383 innings pitched. He became the Giants’ full-time closer in 2008 and recorded at least 36 saves in four consecutive seasons, including a career-high 48 saves in 2010.
Wilson was lights-out for the Dodgers down the stretch of the 2013 season, as he gave up just one earned run in 13.2 innings (0.66 ERA). That success carried into the postseason, as Wilson threw six shutout innings with eight strikeouts over six games, split evenly in the National League Division Series and NL Championship Series.
He did not fare as well in 2014 though, as Wilson yielded a 4.66 ERA in 61 appearances (48.1 innings).