Reds honor fallen scout

Reds honor fallen scout Wilson

CINCINNATI -- No one would argue that Brian Wilson was taken too soon, way too soon.

Also acknowledged by those who knew the Reds scout best is the fact that Wilson made the most of the time he was given and left quite an impression on everyone he touched.

A member of the Reds organization for 13 years, Wilson was working outside his Albany, Texas, home on June 17 when he died suddenly from a heart attack. Only 33 years old, Wilson is survived by his wife, Prairie, and their three young daughters -- Carson, Conor and Curry.

On Saturday afternoon, the Reds dedicated a memorial to Wilson. A shadowbox plaque with his pictures and an inscription was dedicated at Great American Ball Park in "Scouts Alley," an area of the stadium that pays tribute to one of the most underappreciated jobs in professional baseball.

Wilson was a scouting supervisor who covered Texas for the Reds. Two of the more prominent players he was responsible for signing were the Reds' last two first-round picks in the annual First-Year Player Draft, Jay Bruce in 2005 and 2006 selection Drew Stubbs.

"He was just a great guy," Reds third-base coach Mark Berry said. "Everybody liked being around him. He was a very good organizational guy. He was a good man, very honest, and he had a passion for the game."

Berry goes back many years with Wilson. The two often worked together in the organization's lower Minor Leagues. Wilson started out as a Minor League player and later transitioned first into coaching and then scouting.

"What stood out is, every time we saw him in Spring Training, he was always smiling," Berry said. "You never saw him in a bad mood. He was always upbeat. Players liked him, and all the coaches did. He was just a good person."

About three dozen members of the Reds front office attended the memorial, including chief operating officer John Allen, general manager Wayne Krivsky and long-time scouts and executives Gene Bennett and Larry Barton Jr. Several current scouts also came to town to be there.

East regional cross-checker Jim Thrift, a close friend of Wilson's, spoke before the plaque was unveiled.

"All of us were lucky enough to have met, known and loved Brian Wilson," Thrift told those assembled. "We honor him in a way here that symbolizes the tradition of this organization. This is hallowed ground. Although Brian has left us, the fans and those of us here in Cincinnati will always see Brian when we go to the Major League field and see the players that he signed running around on this field. The legacy of Brian Wilson will live on."

With her girls standing next to her, Prairie Wilson was moved when the plaque was revealed.

"It's beautiful," she said. "You don't know how much it means to the girls and I to be here with all of you and honor Brian in this way. We knew how good of a person he was at home. We just enjoyed knowing that you knew it, too."

The Wilson family was guests of the Reds on the field before Saturday's game against the Pirates. Carson, Conor and Curry Wilson watched batting practice. Wilson's father, Carl, threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

The Brian Wilson Memorial Fund was created to help the family. Donations can be sent to:

First National Bank of Albany
Attention: Randall Palmore
P.O. Box 157
Albany, TX 76430

A golf tournament to benefit a memorial scholarship in Wilson's name is scheduled for Nov. 6 in Irving, Texas.

Since Brian's death, a family photo of the Wilsons and information about the memorial fund has been posted on bulletin boards at both ends of the Reds clubhouse.

"It makes you appreciate what you really have," Berry said. "It's kind of good for me, especially, since I knew him pretty well. It's a daily reminder of what's really important. This is a game and we want to win, but when I look at that note on the wall with his wife and kids, it puts everything into perspective very quickly."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.