Brian Wilson is baseball’s oddest relief pitcher, said Jason Turbow in The New York Times. The 28-year-old San Francisco Giant, who pitched the final inning in the team’s World Series victory, sports a haircut that’s half-mullet, half-mohawk, and a scraggly beard that’s so black it looks like it was dyed with shoe polish. His facial hair has a fan base of its own, with several Facebook pages devoted to extolling its bizarre beauty. It’s also the inspiration for a rallying cry among Giants fans, who warn opponents to “fear the beard.”
In interviews, Wilson has claimed to be a “certified ninja” who can defeat opponents with his thoughts. But beneath the offbeat persona, Wilson is a fierce competitor who stares down opposing batters with genuine rage. “I don’t have time to be angry away from the field,’’ he explains. “So I bottle it up and drink a tall glass of it before taking the mound.” His work ethic, which propelled him to the top of the major leagues in saves this year, comes from his father, a career Air Force man who passed away when Wilson was 17. “He taught me that you don’t get anything for free. You have to work for it. Nothing ever comes easy.” His goal is to become one of the best players ever to don a Giants uniform. “I’d like to be a crossword clue someday. Right now the clue ‘Giants great’ is always Mel Ott. When I’m the clue, how sweet would that be?”
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