Note: This page is for major league pitcher Brian Wilson. For other players with similar names, click here.
Brian Patrick Wilson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 205 lbs.
- School Louisiana State University
- High School Londonderry High School
- Debut April 23, 2006
- Final Game September 27, 2014
- Born March 16, 1982 in Winchester, MA USA
And then there’s the guy with the beard. Where's he? I do fear it. Barack Obama, on Brian Wilson, during the Giants' visit to the White House.
Brian Wilson was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 24th round of the 2003 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Tom Korenek and made his pro debut the next summer due to Tommy John surgery just prior to the draft.
Wilson broke in with the Giants early in the 2006 season and earned his first save at the beginning of July, shortly after being brought up for the balance of the season. The following August, in 2007 Wilson arrived in San Francisco to stay and recorded a 2.28 ERA in 24 relief appearances.
With the opening of the 2008 season, Wilson became the Giants' closer. He recorded 41 saves (2nd in the National League, with only 6 blown saves and made his first All-Star Game appearance, despite a 4.62 ERA on the season. In 2009, he was again an All-Star and far more effective, halving his home runs surrendered, despite more innings pitched, and dropping his ERA to 2.74. Wilson was third in NL saves with 38.
In 2010, Wilson and the Giants had a wildly successful season. As the Giants won the World Series, Wilson led the league in saves with 48, had a still lower ERA of 1.72 and finished 7th in Cy Young Award voting.
Wilson started to grow his beard in August of 2010, saying he would not shave until the Giants' season was over. As the season wore on, the beard became a focal point for the Giants' fans, who would wear fake beards to games and hold up signs saying "Fear the Beard", all the way until a win over the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Wilson did not shave after the season and reported to spring training in 2011 with a beard long enough to touch his chest - see the photo (above) taken at the White House in July.
Wilson missed most of the second half of the 2011 season with arm injuries, but seemed to be back on track as he headed into 2012. He pitched a couple of games in April, picking up a save, but then was diagnosed with structural damage in his elbow on April 14th, a prognosis that led to Tommy John surgery. It was the second time under the knife for Wilson, who had undergone the surgery while at Louisiana State University in 2003; Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery both times. A free agent, he finally found a new team on July 30, 2013, when he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, although it was not sure how long it would take before he was ready to pitch in the majors again. That day came sooner than expected, as after only 4 minor league games, during which he pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, he was added to the Dodgers' roster on August 19th. Reporters quickly noticed that he had apparently not cut his beard at all since his last major league appearance, and that he now needed a blue rubber band to keep it somewhat under control; in another personal touch, he decided to wear uniform number 00 that year. He pitched extremely well for the Dodgers, with an ERA of 0.66 in 18 games, with a record of 2-1 as the set-up man for Kenley Jansen. He added 6 scoreless appearances in the postseason, including a win in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on October 7th.
A free agent after the 2013 season, Wilson told the New York Yankees, who were interested in his services, not to make an offer as he was adamant about keeping his beard; the Yankees have a strict policy against facial hair other than mustaches, which would have forced Wilson to shave off his signature item. In the end, he chose to re-sign with the Dodgers for one year and $10 million. After pitching a perfect inning in his first appearance of the 2014 season during the Dodgers' two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, he was the losing pitcher in Major League Baseball's stateside Opening Day game on March 30th. He came in in the 8th in relief of starter Hyun-Jin Ryu trying to hold a 1-0 lead, but he promptly gave up a pinch-homer to Seth Smith to tie the game and walked Yasmani Grandal. Grandal advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt which Wilson mishandled, then took advantage of 3B Jose Uribe charging towards the plate to steal the first base of his professional career and later came in to score as Wilson was charged with the 3-1 loss. The next day, Brian was placed on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his elbow. He ended up making 61 appearances for the Dodgers, with a record of 2-4, 4.66 and one save in 48 1/3 innings. He also pitched a third of an inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, giving up a hit and a walk. On December 16th, the Dodgers decided to designate him for assignment in order to make room on their roster for the newly signed Brandon McCarthy, swallowing $9.5 million in guaranteed salary in the process.
After not pitching in 2015 and 2016, Wilson resurfaced early in 2017 when he said he was attempting a comeback at 34 - as a knuckleball pitcher. He had also shaved his massive beard, making him practically unrecognizable. He did throw some practice sessions for scouts, but no team was willing to bite and offer him a contract.
- 3-time NL All-Star (2008, 2010 & 2011)
- NL Saves Leader (2010)
- 30 Saves Seasons: 4 (2008-2011)
- 40 Saves Seasons: 2 (2008 & 2010)
- Won a World Series with then San Francisco Giants in 2010