Jack Wilson, the Pirates’ shortstop from 2001-09, announced his retirement from baseball Tuesday.
“My wife Julie and our kids and I made that decision together, that this season was going to be my last,” Wilson told the Tribune-Review. “We’re retiring officially, right after the Braves win the World Series.”
Wilson, 34, was acquired by Atlanta to be the backup shortstop, but he appeared in only 40 games and batted .169. He went on the disabled list July 15 because of a dislocated pinky finger, then was released by the Braves on Aug. 31.
He’s still staying in touch with the Braves — the front office welcomed him to stay around the team — and he’ll travel to Pittsburgh for the Braves’ series with the Pirates. That would have been his first appearance in Pittsburgh as an opponent.
“I still haven’t been back since the trade,” Wilson said of the July 31, 2009, deal that sent him to the Seattle Mariners. “I have so many good friends, people I can’t wait to see.”
Wilson was a 2004 National League All-Star for the Pirates. He batted .269 in his nine-plus seasons with the team, but he’ll be remembered most for his acrobatic plays in the field.
“I’ve always taken pride in my defense,” Wilson said.
According to one advanced statistic — defensive wins above replacement player — Wilson is the third-best defensive player in the franchise’s 126-year history. Bill Mazeroski and Honus Wagner are the two top, Gene Alley and Roberto Clemente fourth and fifth.
“That’s really humbling just to be mentioned with those guys, and it’s one of the special things about having been associated with a team like the Pirates that has so much history,” Wilson said.