Russell Wilson was traded …
But, relax, it was in baseball.
The Seattle Seahawks’ franchise quarterback announced Wednesday that the Texas Rangers had traded him to the New York Yankees for what is being termed as “future considerations.”
The trade is ceremonial. What it means is Wilson will make annual cameos at the spring-training camp of the Yankees now instead of the Rangers, for whom he was a uniformed “guest” taking ground balls the past few springs.
He’s expected to spend a day or two on the diamond in the Yankees’ famous pinstripes in Tampa, Florida, either late this month or in March.
“Always said we’d be a Yankee Pops!” Wilson posted on his Twitter account, referring to his late father.
“I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers and (general manager) Jon Daniels for drafting me and giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again,” Wilson said in a statement. “Growing up taking grounders, hitting BP, and throwing deep post routes in football early in the mornings at 6 am with my dad and brother is where my love of sports came from and those memories stick with me every morning I wake up. During my two springs with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game.
“While football is my passion and my livelihood, baseball remains a huge part of where I came from and who I am today. I’ve learned so much on the baseball field that translates to my game physically and mentally playing quarterback in the NFL. I thank the Rangers and their great fans for making me feel at home and a part of the family! While I embrace the chance to be a New York Yankee, I will forever be grateful to be a part of a world class organization like the Texas Rangers.”
As a high-school senior at The Collegiate School in Richmond, Va., Wilson was a shortstop with a .467 batting average and a quarterback with 3,009 yards and 34 touchdown passes. In 2006, Wilson and eventual San Francisco Giants World Series Most Valuable Player Madison Bumgarner were roommates at the Area Code Games, an annual showcase for the nation’s elite high school baseball players held in Long Beach, California.
North Carolina State offered Wilson football and baseball scholarships, and the Baltimore Orioles drafted Wilson in the 41st round of baseball’s draft out of high school. He went on to play three seasons of baseball at N.C. State. During that time, in 2010, the Colorado Rockies selected Wilson in the fourth round of baseball’s draft. That summer Wilson played infield for the Tri-City Dust Devils in Pasco, in the Northwest League. Then he returned to N.C. State for his junior season of football.
After he graduated from N.C. State with one season of football eligibility remaining, Wilson played one more season of professional baseball, for the Class-A Asheville Tourists in North Carolina. He gave up baseball in June 2011 after hitting .229 with 118 strikeouts in 315 at-bats, then played his fifth-year senior season of football at Wisconsin. Wilson quarterbacked the Badgers to the 2012 Rose Bowl. The Seahawks selected him a few months later in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. That was the end of Wilson’s baseball career — aside from the visits to the Rangers’ spring-training camp the past few years as that uniformed “guest.”
In 2015, months before he signed his Seahawks contract extension worth $87.6 million to do his real job, Wilson hit a home run during a Rangers batting practice.
Now, with two seasons remaining on his Seahawks deal, the 29-year-old Wilson’s going to be in the pinstripes of one of the most recognizable sports brands in the world.
But, fear not. It’s still only for a day or two each offseason.