Vance Wilson: Early 2000's Mets Back Up Catcher & Current MLB Coach (1999 - 2004)

Vance Allen Wilson Was born on March 17, 1973, at Mesa, Arizona. 

The local high school baseball star made Junior All American at Mesa Community College; he would later be elected to the school's Hall of Fame.  

In 1993 Wilson drafted by the New York Mets in the 44th round. 

After batting .302 in the NY / Penn. League in his initial year, his minor league career was hampered with injuries. He finally peeked into the majors for one game in 1999 as a defensive replacement. 

He spent the 2000 season at AAA Norfolk as the team's main catcher, hitting 16 HRs with 62 RBIs while batting .260. 

Mets Career: In the Mets 2000 NL Pennant season, he did appear in four games as a pinch hitter (going 0-4) that September but saw no post season action. 

After the Pennant- 2001: Wilson began the year at AAA & was brought up in July, as the team's third string catcher behind Mike Piazza & Todd Pratt. In 32 games he hit well, batting .298 (17-57) with three doubles & six RBIs. 

2002: By now he became Piazza’s primary backup catcher, usually coming in as a late inning defensive replacement or making starts behind the plate during inter-league play when Piazza could DH.

One of Top NL's Defense Catchers: Wilson was not playing because of his hitting; it was his defense. From 2001-2004 he was ranked in the top three for throwing out base stealers. He threw out 45% of would-be base stealers for three straight seasons. In 2002 he led the majors throwing out 49% of would-be base runners.

Wilson would see more time behind the plate in Mike Piazza's later years as a Met from 2002-2004. 

In his first game of the 2002 season, Wilson came in the 7th inning as a defensive replacement. In the 9th inning he doubled home two runs, adding to the Mets 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. 

First Career HR: On April 13th he hit his first career HR, a three-run shot off the Expos Javier Vazquez in a 9-8 extra inning loss to the Montreal Expos. 

Later that month he drove in runs in three straight games, then drove in the winning run in a 2-1 win over Milwaukee Brewers.

In a June 29th, he hit one of three HRs along with Mike Piazza & Mo Vaughn in an 11-2 Mets subway series win in the Bronx. In the 4th inning Wilson hit a solo HR off Ted Lilly as he had two hits driving in two runs in the win

On August 8th Wilson had a three-hit day, driving in a pair of runs in the Mets 9-0 win at Milwaukee. That day he was behind the plate calling a five-hit shutout for Steve Trachsel. 

Four RBI Game: On September 8th Vance hit his fifth HR, a three-run shot at Veterans Stadium off Brandon Duckworth. He added an RBI single off Rheal Cormier the next inning, for a season best four RBI game in the Mets 11-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. 

2003: This season Piazza was plagued with injures only seeing action in 62 games behind the plate. This gave Wilson much more playing time as he had career highs in games played with 96. 

The Mets finished a disappointing fifth (66-95) under manager Art Howe.

In April, Wilson started off the year well with a pair of HRs & nine RBIs finishing the month batting at .287. 

On May 6th he connected for a solo HR off the Dodgers Odalis Perez, following Tony Clark's HR going back-to-back. The Mets went on to a 3-2 win behind Pedro Astacio.

Vance hit safely in ten of thirteen games that month, as he briefly went over the .300 mark. 

From June 1st- June 15th, in a nine-game span, Vance batted .452 with 14 hits, five multi-hit games, with five extra base hits & driving in ten runs. Wilson then had a big series in Texas during interleague play with the Rangers.

On June 10th, he hit a three run HR off Jay Powell in a 9-7 loss.

Five RBI Game: On June 12th, the next day, in an 11-0 Mets shut out in Texas, Wilson had a career high five RBI game. In the top of the 2nd, he hit a two run HR off the Rangers Colby Wilson. In the Mets five run 3rd inning, he collected a two-run single. In the top of the 9th, he was hit by a pitch from Jay Powell who had homered off yesterday, with the bases loaded giving the Mets a 10-0 lead. 

In July he drove in eight runs with four multi-hit games, playing in 19 games. In the final two months of the season, he played in 23 games driving in five runs. 

On the season, behind the plate Wilson was solid defensively, throwing out 45% of would-be base stealers posting a .990%. He hit .243 with career highs in HRs (8) RBIs (39) & games played (96).

2004: The following year, the Mets had another bad season with a fourth place finish (71-91) in Art Howes final season as manager. Mike Piazza play 68 games at first base as Jason Phillips became the main catcher, with Wilson as his back up (69 games).  

On May 13th he led the Mets to a 7-4 win in Arizona with a three run HR off Brandon Webb. 

On June 1st he added a two run tenth inning HR, off Tim Worrell to beat the Phillies in Philadelphia 4-1. By early August he was batting over the .290 mark but fell off from there & only saw action in three games that September. 

Wilson had career highs in at bats (268) hits (65) HRs (8) runs scored (28) & RBIs (39) batting .243 with a .293 on base % & .666 OPS. 
That year he batted .274 with a career high ten doubles. He hit four HRs with 21 RBIs playing in 79 games. At catcher he threw out 34% of would-be base stealers. 

In January 2005 the Mets sent him to the Detroit Tigers for Anderson Hernandez. 

Mets Career Stats: In his Mets career he hit .254 with 165 hits 17 HRs 2doubles & 92 RBIs in 286 games played over six seasons. He is 12th all time in Mets history 255 games behind the plates.

Post Mets Career: He hit only .197 his first season in Detroit but rebounded the following year to bat .283 with 5 HRs & 18 RBIs in 56 games. 

In 2007 Wilson needed Tommy John surgery and was expected to return for 2008, but then more injuries ruined his chances. 

In 2009 he signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals, batting .270 in 59 games at AA Northwest Arkansas. 

Career Stats: In his eight-season career, Wilson batted .250 with 238 hits, 42 doubles 25 HRs 129 RBIs while posting a .302 on base %. 

He threw out 40% of base runners trying to steal (90 of 245), posting a .990 fielding %, making 18 errors in 2388 innings behind the plate. 

Retirement: In 2011 he was manager of the Kane County Cougars, a Kansas City Royals, A ball affiliate. In 2012 he managed the advanced A ball Wilmington Blue Rocks & was promoted to the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2014. 

KC Royals Coach: Vance became the Kansas City Royals bullpen coach (2018 - 2019). Since 2020 he has been the Royals third base coach & field coordinator.

Family: Vance & his wife Bridget have one daughter; they reside in Arkansas. There they raised money to help build a home for abused children.

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