On Wednesday, the San Jose Giants announced the retirement of their longtime General Manager Mark Wilson. Wilson has been the G.M. of the Giants for 30 years, and has been a part of the San Jose organization for 38 years, going back to its days as the San Jose Bees before being affiliated with the San Francisco Giants.
Wilson has twice won the California League Executive of the year, in 1995 and 2009, and was the 2014 recipient of the Bowie Kuhn Award, presented to an individual who demonstrates the highest level of support of the baseball chapel program. When he was the California League Executive of the Year, the San Jose Giants organization won the John H. Johnston Award, for the most complete franchise in Minor League Baseball. Under Wilson’s leadership, the team twice won the Bob Freitas Award, as the top overall operation at the Class-A Advanced Level, and the 2014 Larry MacPhail Award as the most outstanding club in creative marketing and promotions.
Thanks to these accomplishments, Mark Wilson has been named one of the 150 most influential people in California League history.
In Minor League Baseball, a general manager has a different focus than the ones we think of in Major League Baseball. In the Majors, a G.M. will be most often involved in player decisions. In the Minor Leagues, the G.M. is focused on getting fans into the games. As featured in the awards mentioned, this often has to do with promotions and in-game entertainment.
Wilson is credited with bringing the hugely popular Beer Batter promotion to San Jose, as well as one of minor league baseball’s most expansive fireworks shows. Over his term, Wilson also brought in the team’s popular mascot Gigante (voted by fans as the California League’s best mascot in 2013) and the incredibly unique “Smash for Cash” promo where players attempt to throw a baseball and smash out an old truck’s headlights.
The Giants announced that in his honor, they will retire the number 38 in honor of his nearly 4-decade tenure with the team. It will be just the second number retired by San Jose.
The San Jose Giants will be moving with the California League down to Class-A (known as Low-A) for the 2021 season, but will still be a San Francisco Giants affiliate. The 33-year affiliation is the longest currently in the California League, and the San Francisco Giants are now majority owners of the team.
San Jose will be announcing events to celebrate Wilson’s career once the schedule for the 2021 season is finalized.