The day after the Colorado Rockies drafted Russell Wilson, his father died. Jay Matthews, the Rockies scout who spent five years coveting Wilson and was sure he would one day play in the major leagues, happened to be driving through Wilson's hometown of Richmond, Va., and called his cell phone.
Wilson told him the bad news. Diabetes had taken Harrison Wilson III, 55, a man Matthews knew couldn't have been any prouder. His son played football at North Carolina State and was about to play baseball for the Rockies and maybe, just maybe, was the evolutionary answer to Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson and Brian Jordan: not just a football player who thrived at baseball but a quarterback who thrived in both sports. Matthews reflexively asked if there was anything he could do.
"You can throw me some batting practice," Wilson said.
So around 10 p.m., about 24 hours after he said good-bye to his father, Russell Wilson ripped baseballs at a local batting cage with his brother, Harrison IV, and Matthews.