Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce NY Mets Hall of Fame member Mookie Wilson will be the featured speaker at the College’s 2014 Founder’s Day Program on Thursday, October 23 at 6 pm. in the Gibbs Auditorium. A reception and autograph session will follow and the general public is invited to attend.
SMC’s Student Government Association presents the Founder’s Day program each October celebrating the vision, passion, and purpose of SMC’s pioneering founder, Dr. David English Camak, a visionary Methodist minister. Wilson, who graduated from SMC in April of 1976 with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, played all or part of twelve seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Mets (1980–89) and Toronto Blue Jays (1989–91).
During SMC’s September 10 Convocation, Greenville native, Adell Enrique Gordon, graduate of Berea High School and the son of Revs. Enrique and Shirley Gordon, was sworn into office as SGA President. Gordon shared “A pioneer, in the simplest form, is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. Without question, Mookie Wilson is just that.”
The Major League Baseball outfielder and coach is best remembered as the Met that hit the ground ball that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs in game six of the 1986 World Series. Wilson avoided being hit by a wild pitch, allowing the tying run to score in the bottom of the 10th. His ground ball later in the same at bat went through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing the winning run to score. The play is often known as the “Buckner play” and is blamed on the first baseman, but Wilson’s smart at bat, speed, and determination also affected the course of events and allowed the Mets to win the1986 World Series. The ball that rolled through Buckner’s legs was long housed in the Seth Swirsky baseball collection and on May 3, 2012, was sold through Heritage Auctions for $418,250.
Born William Hayward Wilson, and nicknamed “Mookie” as a small child, in Bamberg, SC, he pitched for the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Red Raiders baseball team under legendary coach David Horton. While attending SMC, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the January 1976 amateur draft, but he did not sign. Instead, he transferred to play for The University of South Carolina Gamecocks, preferring to take the chance of skipping the 1976 draft offer and increasing his draft stock by playing for former New York Yankees great, and fellow South Carolina native Bobby Richardson (who was the head coach of the Gamecocks at the time).
The gamble paid-off as Wilson was selected in the second round of the 1977 Major League Baseball Draft by the NY Mets. A switch hitter with excellent speed, his positive attitude and hustle immediately endeared him to a New York Mets fan base and was enshrined in the NY Mets Hall of Fame in 1996. From 1996-2002, Wilson served as the Mets’ first base coach. In 2003 and 2004, he managed the Rookie League Kingsport Mets team, and in 2005, Wilson managed the single-A Brooklyn Cyclones. After serving as the organization’s base running coordinator, Wilson returned to serve as the Mets’ first base coach in 2011. He moved into a front office job after the season. In 2013, he managed the U.S. Team in the All-Star Futures Game held at Citi Field.
Wilson never strayed from the lessons he learned at SMC that encouraged academic excellence, intellectual exploration, social awareness, and character development. Shortly after his classic time at bat in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, Wilson and his wife Rosa started an educational center for girls, Mookie’s Roses, near their home in Lakewood, NJ. In 1996, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College in New York. In 2001, Mookie and his family released a gospel CD entitled, “Don’t Worry, the Lord will Carry You Through.” Wilson most recently appeared on the April 28, 2014 episode of The Daily Show to discuss his memoir, “Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets” (2014).
During the Thursday, October 23 program, the first annual SGA Founder’s Day Faculty Award will also be presented to a faculty member who represents and embodies the spirit and vision of Dr. Camak. The recipient is one who is not afraid to try new things, puts the needs of students first, and is respected in their profession and by the student body. SMC welcomes the general public to attend this uplifting program. For more information, please contact Yvonne Harper, email@example.com, 864-587-4278.