John Wilson's life changed on September 30, 1996, the morning after his eighteenth birthday, when his estranged father, Jack, arrived at their Reseda home to stalk his wife, Cindy.
Cindy was not home. She had taken John's 17-year old sister, Wendy, and moved weeks earlier in order to avoid Jack, who arrived that day with a gun in his hand and drugs in his system. John, a freshman at Cal State Northridge at the time, heard his father, ran outside, and found himself facing a pointed gun. Words were exchanged, and Jack fired two blasts through the door, wounding his son in the right arm with the first, and in the chest with the second. John staggered off, bleeding, with torn biceps and a punctured lung.
Northridge coach Mike Batsesole was shocked to see Wilson's condition at the hospital. It was obvious that the barrel of the weapon had been close to him when it was fired. Some remarkable things occurred next.
First, Wilson managed to leave the hospital only two weeks later. The he forgave his father.
"I felt it was the first step for me to realize the rest of my dreams," he told Dana Heiss Grodin of Baseball America. "I was going to get on with my life and not feel sorry for myself."
Wilson seems to understand that drugs fueled his father's anger, and he did support his imprisonment after conviction of attempted second-degree murder on July 11, 1997. The sentence was for 10 years. However, John also realizes that Jack taught him how to play baseball, so the former Cleveland High star wrote his father a letter. They have communicated ever since.
Wilson regained 30 pounds, and after sitting out his freshman year as a medical redshirt, he transferred to the University of Kentucky when Northridge announced plans to cut baseball. He told Kentucky coach Keith Madison about what happened, and Madison determined that he wanted this strong-willed kid in his program. Not only that, but he wanted him to make the move to catcher, a position he had not played since little league.
Wilson responded by leading the Southeastern Conference with 23 home runs and 170 total bases, and after struggling defensively, he has made the adjustment.<p>
He has played for the USA National Team, and in 2000 led the Wildcats' in most offensive categories, helping UK post its most successful season since 1991.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism