Once known as a powerhouse in the American League after winning five division titles in six years from 2004-2009, the Angels have struggled to overcome their division in recent years and failed to make it to the playoffs for two consecutive seasons (2010 and 2011) for the first time since 2000 and 2001. Following the 2011 season, the Angels announced that former MLB pitcher and executive Jerry Dipoto would replace Tony Reagins as general manager. During the offseason, Dipoto and the Angels signed some of the biggest names in free agency, including two-time All-Star pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Wilson, a Southern California native, made his MLB debut on June 11, 2005 for the Texas Rangers and was with the organization until the close of the 2011 season when he agreed to a five-year, $77.5 million dollar deal with the Angels. Wilson has been a strong addition to the starting rotation, posting a 9-5 record with a 2.43 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 18 games. On May 22, 2012, Wilson and newcomer Ernesto Frieri combined to pitch a one-hit shutout over the Oakland Athletics in Oakland. Wilson pitched 8 innings and allowed just one hit (a single by Cliff Pennington to CF), two walks and struck out seven. Wilson’s stellar performance on the field is not the only place he excels.
On July 26, the lefty will host the 4th Annual “Throw Strikes” bowling tournament in Anaheim to benefit the C.J. Wilson Children’s Charities, Hematology and Oncology Clinic of Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and The Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Wilson became involved with raising awareness for blood disorders after a visit to the Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas in 2006. Wilson, who made the visit with fellow Rangers teammates, was instantly drawn to a young boy, Micah, who has severe hemophilia. Wilson gave Micah a hug and spent time talking and interacting with him. After Wilson left, Micah was ecstatic and shared with everyone how cool it was to meet a baseball player. Micah’s father, Robert Champagne, wrote a thank-you letter to Wilson for lifting his son’s spirits; Wilson contacted Champagne to meet for lunch so he could learn more about hemophilia. In 2007, after getting to know Micah and Robert more, and learning about the blood disorder, Wilson asked Robert to help him start a charity to raise awareness and money for the disorder. According to his website, leftylefty.com, “The 501(C)(3) raises funds, awareness and most importantly youth participation in community service and charitable giving that will directly benefit children and their families affected by chronic, life-threatening illnesses or dealing with social or financial challenges…”
The bowling tournament will be Wilson’s first event in Southern California. The event will be held at 300 Bowling in Anaheim from 6-10 p.m. on July 26. Admission is $50 per person, which includes entry to the event, one game of bowling and shoe rental. There will also be a raffle, games, prizes for the top bowling score for children and adults, and dining & non-alcoholic beverages.
Wilson is certainly an All-Star both on the field, and off. Please make sure to purchase your tickets and give Wilson a warm welcome to Southern California.
To learn more about CJ Wilson Charities, the event, or to purchase tickets, please visit leftylefty.com.