When looking back at the Golden Era of Kansas City Royals baseball, Willie Wilson is criminally underrated. Overshadowed by the star power of George Brett, Frank White and even Amos Otis to some extent, Wilson is a player whose contributions may be appreciated more with the benefit of hindsight.
During his career, Wilson only made two All-Star appearances, earning the nod in 1982 and 1983. A slick outfielder who ranks fifteenth in Major League history with 105 runs saved in the outfield, he only won one Gold Glove award. Wilson did earn two Silver Slugger awards and finished as high as fourth in the 1980 MVP ballot, but one would think a season when he lead the American League in hits (230), runs (133) and triples (15) while stealing 79 bases and producing a .326/.357/.421 batting line would have deserved an All-Star appearance. That did not turn out to be the case.
The Kansas City Royals all time leader with 612 stolen bases, Willie Wilson also ranks second all time in triples, third in doubles and fourth in hits and runs scored. When his excellent defense is factored in, Wilson truly deserved a lot more recognition during his playing career than he received.
Hindsight can be a wonderful thing at times. With this gift, maybe we can begin to truly appreciate the player that Wilson was for the Kansas City Royals.
Next: Write in candidates and final thoughts