Friday, May 6, 2016

Mets Card of the Day - 1996 Topps #214 Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson was selected with the #1 overall pick in the 1994 draft by the Mets. Wilson was part of "Generation K" along with Jason Isringhausen and Bill Pulsipher. 

After spending 1994 and 1995 ascending through the Mets system, Wilson made his debut with the big club at Shea Stadium on 4/4/96, starting against the Reds. He went 6 and got a no-decision, giving up 8 hits and striking out 2. Wilson would finish the year going 5-12 with a 5.38 ERA, 1.530 WHIP and 109 K's. That would be the only year Wilson made it up with the big club, he was traded to Tampa Bay on 7/28/2000.

This post isn't really about Paul Wilson, though. It's also not about Generation K. It's about a player that Wilson played with in 1993 on team USA, Steve Reich. Wilson and Reich both had cards in the 1993 Topps Traded set and they are shown below:

In 1996, while Wilson was making his way through his debut MLB season, Reich toiled away for the High Desert Mavericks of the California League, making 2 appearances. Reich had signed with the Baltimore Orioles organization once he completed 2 years of his military commitment after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point. While at West Point, Reich set the record for most wins by any Army Pitcher. Reich was highly touted as a prospect coming out of High School, but he chose to attend West Point instead. 

After realizing that the California League was probably about as far as he was going to go in professional baseball, Reich re-entered the United States Army and would eventually serve 4 tours in Afghanistan.

Reich was Killed in Action on June 28, 2005. He was aboard a MH-47 Special Operations Helicopter that was hit by an RPG while trying to rescue a 4 man Navy Seal team. This incident is covered in the book and movie "Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell.

"Generation K" is something that should rightly be forgotten by Mets Fans. Nothing personal against Paul Wilson, but I prefer to remember his Team USA teammate Steve Reich.

RIP Maj. Stephen C. Reich 

God Bless the men and women of our Armed Forces. 

Go Army! Beat Navy!

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