Seahawks QB Wilson left lasting impression on Asheville
Posted January 31, 2014
Asheville, N.C. — The City of Asheville still remembers the 2011 Tourists baseball season, as the "Summer of Russell" - and for good reason.
“He was the greatest person I’ve ever seen come through here,” said President of the Asheville Tourists, Brian DeWine. “He would do charity appearances when we asked, he would do hospital visits when we asked, he would do speaking engagements.”
“He was a member of this community,” added Tourists play-by-play announcer, Doug Maurer.
Wilson, wearing the familiar No. 3, played in 61 games for the Tourists, a minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
While his stats, particularly at the plate, were not exactly mind-blowing, his well-known work ethic and leadership, were already in full-force.
“If he did something that he didn’t like, he would stay late and fix it,” Maurer recalled.
One summer Sunday afternoon may be the perfect illustration of that. Late, in a key-game situation, Wilson failed to get a bunt down. Despite the Tourists going on to win that game, Wilson spent an additional two hours afterwards practicing nothing but bunts.
“Everyone understood his work ethic and his desire to be the best would lead him to great things, but I don’t think anyone could’ve envisioned the Super Bowl two years into his professional career,” said Tourists General Manager, Larry Hawkins.
His pigskin achievements may far outshine his days on the diamond, but the Tourists certainly haven't forgotten those four months - and neither has their fan-base as all things Russell Wilson remain in high demand, from 2011 team trading card sets to bobble-head dolls.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s because of the success he’s enjoying now, but because of the impression that he left when he was here,” Maurer said.