"Ever since I was a young kid I always dreamed to be a Yankee," said NFL star Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson has officially traded his shoulder pads and football helmet for a baseball bat and glove.
Wilson, who won the Super Bowl for the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, shared several photos of his new uniform on Instagram, calling his foray into baseball “a dream come true” in a photo from the locker room.
The 27-time World Series Champions didn’t waste any time in throwing their new recruit, traded from the Texas Rangers last week, in with the big dogs. Wilson participated in batting practice with heavyweights Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Greg Bird — and he impressively held his own. While Stanton led the pack with 15 home runs, according to ESPN, the football star sent six balls into the stands.
Wilson also took some ground balls at second base, impressing shortstop Didi Gregorius despite it being his first time playing the field in a year and a half.
“I told him it does not look like it,” Gregorius told ESPN. “He did not look rusty at all.”
Becoming part of the Bronx Bombers fulfills a childhood dream of Wilson’s, whose late father was a huge fan of the team.
“Ever since I was a young kid I always dreamed to be a Yankee. I always watched them,” he said, according to ESPN. “My favorite player was Derek Jeter growing up, watching him, his professionalism and how he played.”
The Seattle Seahawks star also said his interest in pursuing a baseball career was genuine.
“Some people always, for me, get confused on ‘is this just a stunt’ or whatever. They don’t know me. If you really know me, baseball’s been part of my blood,” Wilson said. “It’s been a part of who I am and where I’ve come from and what I’ve done. When you see me make plays on the football field, a lot of that’s a direct correlation to baseball.”
While he is on the Yankees’ spring training roster, manager Aaron Boone said that Wilson won’t be playing in any games.
“I don’t want him to feel like he’s got to address this or do that,” Boone said. “I want him to kind of come in and just kind of be himself, and get to know us and enjoy himself. A lot of our guys will benefit from him being in camp. It’s exciting to see how excited he is about being here.”