Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Stephen Bradley "Brad" Wilkerson (born June 1, 1977 in Owensboro, Kentucky) is an outfielder and first baseman in Major League Baseball who plays for the Washington Nationals since 2005. Previously, Wilkerson played with the Montreal Expos (2001-04). He bats and throws left handed.
Wilkerson had Team USA experience as a member of the junior team in 1995. He was the MVP of the World Junior Championship, pitching a three-hit shutout against Taiwan in the gold medal game and hitting .360 with three home runs and eight RBI for the tournament, leading Team USA in homers and RBI. A two-time first-team All-American, Wilkerson led Florida to the College World Series in 1996 and 1998 with both his hitting and pitching.
In 1999, Wilkerson hit .235 with eight home runs and 49 RBI at Double-A Harrisburg, a challenging assignment for his first full professional season. Back in the Eastern League to start the 2000 season, Wilkerson tore up the league, hitting .336, 6, 44 with 36 doubles before a promotion to Triple-A Ottawa, of the International League. For the season, he was hitting .304-15-75 with 47 doubles in 408 at-bats. While coming up through the minors, Wilkerson was a member of the gold medal-winning USA baseball team in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Wilkerson debuted with Montreal on July 12, 2001, appearing in 38 games at left field. Nevertheless, the next three seasons he divided his playing time at left field (226), center (133) and right (29), as well as the first base (136).
From 2002-03, Wilkerson delivered almost identical seasons with a .266 average, 20 home runs and 59 RBI in 2002, and .268, 19, 77 in 2003. His most productive season came in 2004, when he posted career-highs in homers (32), hits (146), doubles (39), runs (112), bases on balls (106), slugging percentage (.498) and OPS (.872), and hitting .255 with 67 RBI.
Wilkerson opened the 2005 season as the regular center field and leadoff hitter for the new Washington Nationals.
- April 4 - Wilkerson had the honor of being the first batter for the Washington Nationals and he promptly responded with the first hit in the new franchise history, during an 8-4 defeat against the Phillies at Philadelphia.
- April 6 - Wilkerson hit for the cycle in the Nationals' first win since moving to Washington D.C., 7-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He became the twentieth major league player to hit for the cycle on multiple occasions. One day after, Wilkerson continued his torrid hitting going 4-for-5, as the Nationals completed its first series by winning two of three against the Phillies. Previously, Wilkerson hit for the cycle against the Pirates on July 24, 2003.
Awards and accomplishments
- Rotary Smith Award (1998)
- Set Eastern League record for doubles in a season (36, in 2000)
- TSN Rookie of the Year Award (2002)
- Led major leagues in first inning home runs from the leadoff spot (nine, in 2004)
- Set a Montreal Expos all time record with 12 home runs from the leadoff spot
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