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[NOTE : This marks the debut (and a test) for a new feature at Batter's Box, in which ex-Blue Jays are remembered by the Bauxites. We'll put up new threads for the offseason's other ex-Jays over the next few days.]

I find myself strangely affected by the departure of Tom Wilson, who was claimd on waivers by the San Diego Padres today after the Jays signed Chris Gomez.

Wilson was a player I always cheered for, a player who made his major league debut at 30 years of age and never really got a chance in the majors until J.P. Ricciardi came on the scene in Toronto in 2002. Wilson was one of the Good Guys, the type of player who gets an unfair label slapped on him and needs to wait for his chance while lesser players are moved ahead of him. Even then, Tom couldn't catch a break... an injury cost him in his rookie year with the Jays. I still think he's a better hitter than he has shown in his major league career.

Greg Myers may have received the nickname "Crash", but Tom Wilson was a real-life Crash Davis - a minor league lifer - who finally made good, and did everything that was asked of him. I will always be a fan, wherever he goes, and I think he'll be a great backup to Ramon Hernandez in San Diego.
Gone But Not Forgotten : Tom Wilson | 52 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 04:20 PM EST (#24318) #
I recently had to fill out a form, and on that form I had to write who my favorite current major leaguer is. I initially wrote "Tom Wilson", but before I mailed it in, I changed it to "Eric Hinske" as I had a feeling Wilson wouldn't be a Jay much longer.

That was about a week ago. I had no idea how quickly my little prediction would come true. I wish Tom all the best in his new Padres gig.

_S.K. - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 04:34 PM EST (#24319) #
Totally agree about Wilson - I've always been cheering for him. I hope he has a Myers-like season in SD and gets to finally enjoy some recognition for being the solid hitter that he is.

Of course, I also hope that Myers has another Myers-like season so that we don't get second-guessed over letting Wilson go =)
_Akira - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 04:36 PM EST (#24320) #
I liked Tom Wilson as well. Actually, I'm happy about the news, I'm glad he gets a chance to stay in the majors and have a defined role as a back-up to Ramon Hernandez. When I've watched him play, I liked him as a hitter and 1B but not that much as a catcher. Hopefully, Wilson's leaving means that Josh Phelps gets more playing time at 1B.
Dave Till - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 04:48 PM EST (#24321) #
Wilson seemed like a classy guy, and I enjoyed watching him hit out of that unusual rocking-chair batting stance of his. I'm glad he's found a new job right away.
_Matthew E - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:15 PM EST (#24322) #
Has anything been heard from Mike Kremblas recently?

I kind of wish the Jays had hung onto Wilson. He struck me as a useful guy to have around.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:19 PM EST (#24323) #
Count me as another Tom Wilson fan. We sat in the Tom Wilson Foul Ball Zone in the 100 level during a few of his epic at-bats and have the souvenirs to show for it. There were games where I swear that he completely demoralized the pitcher with his at-bats and paved the way for the rest of the team to roll over the guy.
Coach - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:19 PM EST (#24324) #
Count me as another fan. Wilson is a very tough out, capable of mashing lefty pitching. Like Akira, I didn't think he was a great defensive catcher, but he really impressed me at first base, with surprising range and soft hands. Tom was approachable and fun to talk to; now I'm sorry we didn't get around to that interview last year. Thanks for all those great AB, and best of luck with the Padres.
_Chuck Van Den C - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:23 PM EST (#24325) #
Well, this certainly is quite the Tom Wilson love-in, isn't it?

I intended to write my ode to Wilson but saw that Craig had already expressed my sentiments better than I could.

Wilson truly was screwed out of a career. It is galling that the likes of Alberto Castillo were sleeping in 4-star hotels and sipping Perrier while Wilson was logging his Z's in the back of a bus, enduring teenage teammates debating the shaggability of Britney and Christina.

I hope Wilson carries on well into his 30's. The man can hit LH pitching and deserves to be a platoon catcher.
_WILLYS FAMILY - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:29 PM EST (#24326) #
You are all great baseball fans here and it shows in your posts. This is going to be an awsome team to watch this year with next year to be even better. I think this is why it will be hard for Tom to leave, besides all the friendships he has made. They really are a great group guys in the clubhouse and away from the clubhouse.
Thanks again for your support and the entertaining posts!!!
_Ryan01 - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:40 PM EST (#24327) #
It's hard not to like Tom Wilson. He quietly did exactly what he was put out there to do, and maybe even did it a little bit better than we hoped for. He seemed like an intelligent and friendly guy and it's great that his opportunity with the Jays not only bridged the gap for us but opened another opportunity for him to keep on playing in the majors. And if his departure opens up a spot for another older guy who would otherwise be overlooked like Clark, Pond or Chiaffredo then all the better. Good luck Tom.
_Nigel - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 05:57 PM EST (#24328) #
We miss him now but I have a feeling that around about May 15 after watching Kevin Cash try and hit for a month and a half we are really going to miss him. I know he had defensive limitations and he was no long term solution behind the plate, but I can't help but thinking that they Jays should have found a way to keep him around.
_S.K. - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 06:28 PM EST (#24329) #
Does 'Willy's Family' mean what I think it does? Very cool, if so.
Coach - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 06:48 PM EST (#24330) #
Does 'Willy's Family' mean what I think it does?

Yes. Last year, we received a very kind e-mail from Tom's mother. When I mentioned to him that she had discovered Batter's Box, he laughed and told me he wasn't surprised, as she's a lot more computer-savvy than he is.

This is another reason, apart from basic good manners, that we try to be respectful around here, even when we're critical -- you never know who's reading. Thanks for the note, Mrs. W., and you can be sure that there are more Padres fans in Toronto than there were yesterday.
_Shrike - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 06:58 PM EST (#24331) #
Amen to that.
_Shrike - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 06:58 PM EST (#24332) #
And one more in Vancouver, as well.
_Chuck Van Den C - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 07:08 PM EST (#24333) #
If Mrs. Wilson is still on board reading, I'm sure she'll proud to know that the sentiments about her son are pretty darn unanimous. If appearances mean anything, and my gut tells me that in Wilson's case they do, he's a true professional and a class act. Truly, one of the good guys.
_Keith Talent - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 07:14 PM EST (#24334) #
Yes good luck in San Diego Tom Wilson. There should be a lot of excitement down there with the new ball park and it's a beautiful city.

Have any of you Bauxites heard who will be doing Jays TV commentary this year? I hope Cerutti is back and Faulds is gone. If TSN is doing more games that means I have to upgrade my cable package! I hope I don't have to shell out $20 each month to listen to Rod Black and curling expert Vic Rauter.

Though, most likely I'll be moving from Vancouver to Toronto this spring - perhaps I'll spring for Rogers Extra Innings package that is available out there: worth it?

Keith Talent loves his remote control.
_Ryan - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 08:12 PM EST (#24335) #
Yes. Last year, we received a very kind e-mail from Tom's mother. When I mentioned to him that she had discovered Batter's Box, he laughed and told me he wasn't surprised, as she's a lot more computer-savvy than he is.

I ran into Wilson's mother and mother-in-law while I was on AOL. The first time I heard of Tom Wilson was when his mother came into a baseball chat room I was in and mentioned she was the mother of an A's minor leaguer. After he joined the Jays, his mother-in-law would sometimes post on a Jays message board I was a regular on.

If either of you are reading this, tell Tom I wish him all the best in San Diego.
robertdudek - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 08:21 PM EST (#24336) #
I plan to get Extra Innings this year for the first time. From what I understand, if you have Rogers Digital (in Ontario), you can get the whole Sportspack (MLB, NFL, NHL) for the same price as Extra Innings by itself.
_Duane G - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 10:13 PM EST (#24337) #
Count me as another Tom Wilson fan, luckily for me my favorite NL team is the Padres, so this has worked out OK. Giles, Nevin, Klesko, Burroughs and now I really like this team!! Almost as much as the Fighting Jays!
Mike Green - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 10:38 PM EST (#24338) #
Tom Wilson left nothing but fine memories for Toronto fans. He is a professional hitter, and I expect him to flourish for years in the modest role he carved out in Toronto.
_nate - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 10:54 PM EST (#24339) #
the rogers sportspak is 22.95 a month, i do believe -- i had MLB extra innings last season and i also got NFL sunday ticket -- when i found out that getting the sportspak was cheaper than paying for the whole NFL season, i snatched up the offer -- i've cancelled since but plan on renewing come baseball time -- you have to keep the sportspak for a min. of 4 months ...
_R Billie - Wednesday, January 07 2004 @ 11:38 PM EST (#24340) #
Tom's a California native too isn't he? This move works out perfectly for him then although I'm sure he wouldn't have minded staying with the Jays. He's a guy who should have had a platoon catching job for years ahead of guys who had full time jobs and couldn't hit a lick. I would guess at least a third of major league teams needed Tom Wilson but they just didn't realize it. He did everything expected of him as a Jay and it looks like he's going to a team that knows what they're doing. Best of luck Tom!
_coliver - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 10:15 AM EST (#24341) #
Wilson certainly did a good job in Toronto and will be missed, guess the Jays are ready for one of their young catchers to step up to the big club.

Chris Gomez??? Eccch. I'd rather have Luis Gomez on the team.

Did anyone see that Pat Borders signed another contract with Seattle. Who would have thought that he would be still catching at that age. Best of luck to a class act and a future coach (the next John Sullivan).
_rodent - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 02:10 PM EST (#24342) #
Sorry to see Tom go...but good to challenge Cash. The welcome for Tom on the Padres' mlb page features the most Greg Myers-like photo. Click on link.
_rodent - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 02:12 PM EST (#24343) #
Thought I knew how to do that...
Named For Hank - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 02:14 PM EST (#24344) #
It is Myers in the picture, isn't it?
Craig B - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 02:35 PM EST (#24345) #
Try this link for the "Wilson" picture.

Yes, it's Myers. Way to roll out the red carpet, guys!
_Rob - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 04:14 PM EST (#24346) #
They must have heard us -- it's definitely Wilson now, tagging out what looks like a Minnesota player.
_Spicol - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 04:38 PM EST (#24347) #
That's Canada's own Corey Koskie. And he looks safe to me!
Thomas - Thursday, January 08 2004 @ 05:45 PM EST (#24348) #
I'm also sad to see Tom go. It was great to see him get a shot at the big leagues, and I remember him humbly saying at one point, "If it weren't for JP, I don't think I'd be in the big leagues right now." That contains a large degree of truth, but it's also a testament to Wilson's skill that he kept slugging away in the minors putting up good season that went unrecognised, and he never gave up. I'm glad he's going to a team in a beautiful city where he'll get to play.

I think this is the right move for the Jays. Myers had a good year last year and while his performance will likely drop, I still think he'll continue to show a good eye and extra-base power, and his left-handed bat is a good platoon with Cash. It is time to give Cash a large number of big league at-bats, because we do need to figure out where he stands, as Quiroz, obviously the better prospect at this point, is right on his tail and we should use this year to determine if Cash is a career backup, is a good backup or if he has starting potential that maybe could give us something valuable in a trade.
_AZ - Wednesday, January 14 2004 @ 07:36 AM EST (#24349) #
Does anyone think Cash will actually pan out and make it as an everyday catcher? I know he's very good defensively, but I have some serious doubts whether he'll ever be able to hit...even marginally. It's not like he's a 21 year old...Isn't he 26 already? You think he would have solved minor league pitching by this point in his career. I just don't know about him...
_Ryan01 - Wednesday, January 14 2004 @ 08:13 AM EST (#24350) #
Well yes, Cash's age certainly does limit his potential, but he also didn't start playing pro ball until 22. Nor did he even start catching until the age of 22 either. He was a 3rd baseman in college and the Jays only signed him after watching seeing him play catcher as an emergency backup for a couple games in the Cape Cod league. He's certainly come a long way in a short amount of time.
_AZ - Wednesday, January 14 2004 @ 09:32 AM EST (#24351) #

My only point to that is since Cash was converted to a catcher, isn't it logical to think that the one aspect of his game that would be slow to develop would be his defence? That's not the case here. He's a very good defensive catcher. What I'm questioning is his ability to hit major league pitching consistently. I think hitting is hitting, whether you're a catcher or a 3rd baseman. I could be dead wrong (and I hope I am), but I just don't see much of a future with Cash behind the plate. If anything, I'm hoping that JP's plan is to give him some playing time with the hope of boosting his trade value...Then, handing over the duties to Quiroz once he's ready (probably some time in the first half of 2005).
_Ryan01 - Wednesday, January 14 2004 @ 10:26 AM EST (#24352) #
I agree, there are some very valid reasons to doubt Cash's future as an everyday catcher. The reason I brought up his late start, is that you have to think that learning a new position, particularly one as demanding as catcher would take away from his time and focus working on his hitting. Just look at what happened to Joe Lawrence's offense when he tried to make the switch to catching. Plus Cash showed some decent hitting skills before hitting AAA and showed marked improvement in the second half at AAA last year too.

I don't think anyone is really predicting Cash to be a star at this point. But a catcher who can be about average with the bat and outstanding defensively is a pretty valuable thing to have. I think it would be wise to hang on to Cash for a while, until we have a little clearer picture of Quiroz's future. (Not that I don't like Quiroz, but he's got a few question marks as well)
_Jabonoso - Wednesday, January 14 2004 @ 01:17 PM EST (#24353) #
Ryan, which are quiroz questions marks? I mean, besides his ETA...:)
_Ryan01 - Thursday, January 15 2004 @ 10:12 AM EST (#24354) #
Sorry Jabonoso, I missed your question until now. I'm referring mainly to Quiroz's career .237 BA and roughly .300 OBP as a professional. Last year was the first real good year he's had in the minors and he still only hit .282. Don't get me wrong, I like Quiroz as much as anyone. Heck I couldn't find anyone who would agree with me over a year and a half ago that Quiroz was a better prospect than Cash.

But trying to be realistic, he is a little risky as a hitter, much moreso than I think Rios or Gross are at this point. He hasn't shown the plate discipline that Gross has or the ability to make consistent contact that Rios has. No matter how much power potential you have, I think you need at least one of the other two skills (discpline and contact) to make good use of it. There no guarantee that Quiroz's numbers werent' a fluke or that major league pitchers won't be able to exploit his weaknesses. The good news is the rate at which Quiroz is improving. He's shown a large improvement in contact, plate discipline and power three year's running now. The simple fact that Quiroz's numbers are improving every year is a very good sign for his future.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 15 2004 @ 10:44 AM EST (#24355) #
Ryan, I tried to post an answer to Jabonoso's question but it got lost in the attack on the Box. My answer was nowhere near as complete as yours, which I guess is not surprising as I was one of the doubtful 15 months ago. Well said.
_Jabonoso - Thursday, January 15 2004 @ 05:49 PM EST (#24356) #
I see Quiroz as a Phelps light with his bat and a 250/330/480 with his glove put him ahead of cash from day one, which i consider it may well be first game 2005.
_Jon T. - Saturday, January 17 2004 @ 02:23 AM EST (#24357) #
Mike Kremblas is working with Garth Iorg at the Yard baseball training facility and coaching a 12u travel team in Knoxville, TN
_Willies Mother - Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 01:18 AM EST (#24359) #
I would like to thank all of you for your kind words concerning Tommy Wilson. I am one of his biggest fans both on the field and off.
_Tom Fan - Tuesday, May 04 2004 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#24361) #
Does anyone know what has happened to Tom recently? I saw that he was signed, and then released, by the Oakland A's. Is he with another team now?
_Donkit R.K. - Tuesday, May 04 2004 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#24362) #
I thought he was signed then released by the Padres.... *then* signed by the A's....
Craig B - Tuesday, May 04 2004 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#24363) #
Donkit, I think he was subsequently released by Sacramento (Oakland's AAA affiliate) b/c he was unhappy with his playing time.

I would like to see him catch on with Montreal, who could use a bat who can catch, at least at AAA.
Craig B - Tuesday, May 04 2004 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#24364) #
Yes, Wilson is listed as released on April 23.
Mike Green - Wednesday, May 12 2004 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#24365) #
Tom was picked up by the Mets, and was assigned to Norfolk.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, May 12 2004 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#24366) #
That's good news. I'm glad Tom's somewhere. Hopefully he'll have a good chance to contribute.
_Ryan01 - Friday, June 18 2004 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#24367) #
Tom's back in the majors. The Mets put Vance Wilson on the DL and recalled Willie to backup the Piazza/Phillips 1B/catcher platoon. Good Luck Tom.
Named For Hank - Friday, June 18 2004 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#24368) #
Awesome! I'll have to keep my eyes on the Mets games for the next while.
_Cameron Matheso - Thursday, October 21 2004 @ 03:47 PM EDT (#24369) #
In the mid part of the year I took in a NY Mets game (vs the Reds I believe). As was my practice, I arrived in time for batting practice, but was denied entrance to the field level (my ticket was for the non alcohol section). So...I went up to the Mezzanine level and walked to a point in which I was directly over the bull pen.

Down below there were two NY EOD (explosive ordinance) officers with a cannine, awaiting the arrival of the visiting team. A Mets pitcher walked out and took the mound (at the time there was tarp on the two pitchers mounds to his left). So he began to pitch to a catcher (minus a pitching rubber, and home plate.

I used my Canon 7E camera (with 170-500mm) telephoto lens to capture a pretty tight image of Tom Wilson (#6) receiving the ball. The shot shows his entire back and haunches (a plastic container of orange juice in his left rear pocket), with his outstretched hand catching the ball.

As I had done on several occasions during the year, I would take pictures like this and send them to Art Howe (in the blind as I have no connection to him whatsoever), courtesty of the Mets. However I didn't as Tom Wilson was soon gone. I still have the 5X7 copy print.

A scanned copy of this image can be found on my web site: (the image is located within the sports section: its the very last image, so scroll all the way down).

If per chance anyone should come into contact with his mother, please direct her to my web site; or have her communicate with me via e-mail so I can mail her this print as a courtesy (theres also a print of his Mets tote bag, zipper completely opened allowing you to see his knee saver pads, bat, and other odds and ends).

Best wishes to Tom Wilson. He's pursuing the dream that many of us had during our play professional baseball!
Craig B - Thursday, October 21 2004 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#24370) #
Cameron's brilliant photo:

_Willys Mom - Friday, October 22 2004 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#24372) #
Great shot Cameron!! We thought this would be a season to forget after everything that happened on and off the field, just wanted to make it to the end of it. Never dreamed he would be on a post season roster this close to home. Sure hope that the Jays have a productive off-season and have a much improved season next year. You guys deserve it.
Gone But Not Forgotten : Tom Wilson | 52 comments | Create New Account
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