Super Bowl champ's love of baseball started in Little League

Super Bowl champ's love of baseball started in Little League

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is one of the most respected players in the NFL. But long before he led his team to the Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons, Wilson played for Tuckahoe Little League in Richmond, Va. He then excelled in baseball and football through college, was drafted by MLB teams multiple times, and spent two summers playing Minor League ball. Wilson recently spoke with MLB about his experiences.

Your childhood Little League team has produced athletes like yourself and Justin Verlander. What was it like to play there?
It was a blast. It was where everyone went from the time they were 5 to 14 or 15 years old. We were there every weeknight. We had great teams, great players and great coaches. They taught us how to play the game the right way.

How did Little League shape your career?
Little League taught me about competition and how to approach a challenge. You have to sacrifice to be great.

Wilson, Texas Ranger

What do you like most about baseball?
It's the first sport that I played and loved. There's just something about the control you feel when you take the mound or make a crazy play at shortstop. It's a timeless sport.

You've joined the Rangers for Spring Training the past two seasons. What sparked that decision?
I've been drafted three times: by the Orioles, the Rockies and then the Rangers. I figured I would give it a shot. I took some ground balls and had fun. Football is my career focus, but it felt natural to be back on the baseball field.

You make an effort to help children across the country. Why is that important to you?
The Russell Wilson Passing Academy is one of my passions, and we inspire kids throughout the U.S. to be great. I try to make a positive impact and promote a healthy lifestyle. Our coaches do a great job, and I think it's inspiring for kids to see me out there teaching them to love the game.

What advice do you give Little Leaguers?
My father always told me not to be too up or too down. If you strike out, so what? If you hit a home run, act like you've done it before.

How has your life changed since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2014?
It really hasn't changed at all. My goal is to make every year a championship year.