Former Kansas City Royals player Willie Wilson retired from Major League Baseball with 668 stolen bases (ranking 12th all time) and 13 inside-the-park home runs (the most of any major leaguer playing after 1950).
He was also among the first active major league players to serve jail time, having pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges in 1983.
Wilson discusses his life and career as chronicled in his book Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
He will be interviewed by his co-author, former Kansas City Star sportswriter Kent Pulliam.
Wilson played 19 seasons as an outfielder for the Royals, the Oakland Athletics, and the Chicago Cubs. On his way to winning the 1982 batting title, Wilson becamethe first switch hitter since Mickey Mantle to get 100 hits from both sides of the plate.
In 1980, only his second full season in the majors, Wilson helped the Royals reach their first World Series. In the 1985 Series he batted .367, scored two runs, and drove in three in seven games against the St. Louis Cardinals.
After the 1983 season, Wilson found himself in a drug scandal along with teammates Willie Aikens, Vida Blue, and Jerry Martin. All fourpleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges (attempting to purchase cocaine) and are believed to be the first active major leaguers to serve jail time, each spending 81 days at a federal correctional institution. Wilson was suspended by baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn for the 1984 season, but the length was reduced on appeal and he was able to return May 15. Wilson went on to hit .301 and stole 47 bases.
He was elected to the Royals Hall of Fame in 2000, and currently oversees the Willie Wilson Baseball Foundation in Kansas City.
Kent Pulliam was a sports reporter for The Kansas City Star for more than 30 years. He has won several writing awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Missouri Press Association, and is co-author of Rising to New Heights: Inside the Jayhawks Huddle.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.