INDIANAPOLIS Russell Wilson has now done what Babe Ruth did 1,122 times for the New York Yankees.
The legendary Bambino whiffed all those times in regular-season games for the world’s most fabled baseball team from 1920-34.
Wilson wanted his Seahawks jersey number 3 for his spring-training cameo with the Yankees this week in Florida but joked it was taken (by Ruth, forever). Seattle’s franchise quarterback, wearing shiny, reflective sunglasses and jersey number 73 over the Yankees’ iconic, pinstriped pants, struck out swinging Friday in a spring-training game in Tampa against the Atlanta Braves. It was Wilson’s first major-league at-bat, albeit in an exhibition.
Wilson got a couple off-speed pitches plus a nasty curveball he took for a strike from Atlanta’s Max Fried. Fried then struck out Wilson with a 93-mph fastball on a 2-2 count.
Friday morning here at the NFL combine, Seahawks general manager was asked about the news Wilson was going to hit in a game for the first time since 2011. That was when Wilson wore number 7 and was a middle infielder with low-Class-A Asheville, on his way to quarterbacking Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl then getting drafted by the Seahawks the following spring.
“I’m sure he is competing his butt off, you know?” Schneider said.
Wilson made two spring trainings in cameos in recent years with the Texas Rangers. They ceremoniously “traded” Wilson last month to the Yankees, fulfilling a dream the quarterback’s had since he was a kid in Richmond, Virginia. Wilson never had an at-bat in a spring game with Texas. Earlier this week Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wilson wouldn’t have one with New York, either.
But he did on Friday. It may or may not have been a surprise to the Seahawks. They certainly can be excused for fearing a 93-mph fastball go land somewhere on Wilson’s $87.6 million football body than in a catcher’s mitt for strike three.
But it didn’t.
“Have I heard from the Yankees? No,” Schneider said. “I talked to the Rangers I have a relationship with (general manager) Jon Daniels so he let me know what was going on with the Yankees so I kind of got a scoop there. But I don’t know (New York GM) Brian Cashman or anything.
“I know Russell was excited about going out there and doing his thing.
“He has a dream and as a kid he always wanted to play with the Yankees, so he’s been hanging out with those guys. And I’m not sure there’s a relationship with Boone. There’s some sort of relationship there, too.”