November 02, 2006

Appreciation: 1992 Topps
#646 Craig Wilson

I was not very cool in high school. To illustrate this claim, one spring break I spent 10 hours a day for three days straight learning how to juggle. I developed a respect for Michael Moschen, I made my own juggling balls out of balloons and sand and hoped that one day I could shop at Brian DubĂ© in New York. I started by learning a simple three-ball cascade, then moved to passing one over two, then over time taught myself a simple claw cascade, then Mill’s Mess, then claw Mill’s, then half-claw Mill’s, then half-claw Brook’s Barrage, then I moved on to creating my own patterns and now, almost twelve years later, I find I sometimes go three or four months without juggling and then can just start without thinking anything of it. It’s very much like riding a bicycle.

So then, you’d think with all my background in the art and sport of it I’d be able to figure out what exactly Craig Wilson is doing in this picture. It’s my guess that it’s some kind of three-ball shower. Either that or a two-ball pattern in his right hand while his left holds the third ball in a follow up-down pattern. In any case, it’s impressive for a few reasons: one, he’s on a crowded bench in the dugout; there’s someone right next to him. Two, it means he can concentrate better than the average baseball player. I’m not inferring that Wilson was a brilliant ballplayer--he would’ve made it off the bench more often if he had been.

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