Wilson Becoming A Complete Player

Wilson Becoming A Complete Player

With one flick of his wrists and one flip of the bat, Jack Wilson shot a single through the right side of the infield and soared into the record books. <br><br> Wilson collected his 200th hit on Friday (Oct. 1) in the Pirates' 5-1 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati. Wilson finished the season with 201 hits.

The 201 hits put Wilson in exclusive company in more ways than one.

For starters, he tied Honus Wagner's club record, established in 1908, for most hits in a season by a shortstop.

"He's a Hall of Famer, the best shortstop as far as the Pittsburgh Pirates are concerned and one of the best of all time," Wilson said. "It's amazing to think I'm even mentioned in the same breath with him."

Wilson also became the ninth National League shortstop to reach the 200-hit plateau, and it made him the first Pirates player in 27 years, regardless of position, to do the trick. Dave Parker amassed 215 hits in 1977.

To put that in perspective, Wilson wasn't born until Dec. 29, 1977.

Wilson's inclusion in the record books wasn't expected heading into spring training. He was coming off a season in which he batted .256 and had a career-high 143 hits. He also carried a .246 average over his first three seasons with the Pirates while averaging 121 hits.

"He's come a long way," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I remember when I first brought him here (in 2001), I thought he'd eventually be a .300 hitter, but I never thought he'd be this good this quick.

"For him to get 200 hits, bat over .300, lead all (NL) shortstops in OPS and be one of the top defensive shortstops, that's pretty damn good. The thing is, he's still learning. When he increases the walks and bunts a little bit more, he should only get better."

McClendon also thinks Wilson, who has hit a career-high 11 homers this year, can display more power.

"As he continues to get stronger and take care of his body a little bit more, I don't think it's out of the question that Jack will hit 20 home runs some year," McClendon said.

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