Baseball

Section 3, Row 8, Seat 1: Bank on it — Texas superfan Scott Wilson is there

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Story highlights
  • Wilson has attended Texas' last 1,039 baseball games --- home and away, a streak that began on April 8, 2000.
  • He's also closing in on 500 straight football games and has attended a UT sporting event in 39 states.
  • His house is filled with thousands of pieces of UT and college memorabilia, making it more museum than home.

Posted May 19th, 2016

Scott Wilson hears the question from time to time.

“Are you going to Texas’ next game?,” someone will ask.

“They’re playing, aren’t they?” Wilson will answer.

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It’s a fair response for the man who’s attended 1,039 consecutive Texas baseball games — home and away — dating back to April 8, 2000. Wilson, a 64-year-old Austin lawyer, also has made it to the last 473 Longhorns football games. He’s watched Texas football, volleyball, track and field, and golf teams win national championships and has been to a UT sporting event in 39 states.

Baseball, however, is his favorite sport. Wilson has seen his fair share of disappointing baseball seasons over the years, including this one. On Saturday, he’ll catch Texas’ final home game of the season, against Baylor. The Longhorns are 21-28, but this isn’t the worst season he’s seen.

“(This season is) probably in the bottom five,” Wilson said. “I won’t say it’s the worst because there’s been some ones that were just as disappointing.”

Wilson should know. He’s the “Where’s Waldo?” of Texas fans — he’s always there — only he’s 100 times easier to find. He’ll be perched in the same seat at UFCU Disch-Falk Field — Section 3, Row 8, Seat 1. He wears a burnt orange Texas shirt, khaki cargo shorts and a Longhorns baseball cap that’s dotted with pins. He’s been a Texas homer all his life.

Wilson’s seat is now marked with an orange plaque to distinguish it from the others at Disch-Falk, like Ted Williams’ red home run seat at Fenway Park.

Wilson is a lawyer for a municipal health insurance pool, but he’s absent from his job sometimes so he can be present at UT games.

“He must have some tolerant bosses,” said his friend, Elmer Beckworth Jr.

He’s been betrothed to Longhorns sports, and no one else, since he graduated from UT in 1972. He thought he’d have eloped and be a father by now.

“I’ve had girlfriends leave in the third inning,” Wilson said.

But he’d rather be leading “The Eyes of Texas” after baseball games — home or away — and greet players when they descend from the team bus on road games. UT sports is his marriage.

“It’s the love of his life,” said Nancy Wilson, his sister.

Scott Wilson lives in a modest northeast Austin home that is filled from wall to ceiling with loads of Texas' memorabilia as well as other sports he favors too. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Scott Wilson lives in a modest northeast Austin home that is filled from wall to ceiling with loads of Texas’ memorabilia as well as other sports he favors too.
(Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)

If every true love hums with its own special tune, Wilson sings a song of Texas sports. His home is virtually a museum for all things Longhorn. There’s a framed baseball home plate, signed by Roger Clemens. Letters mailed to him are framed on another wall, one written by legendary Southern California coach Rod Dedeaux being his favorite.

Thousands of other artifacts are there, filling every room. Among the most unusual is the wooden, 12-foot-long right field foul pole from old Clark Field, where Texas played its baseball games before Disch-Falk came along in 1975. Wilson plied it off the fence that it was nailed to after Texas’ final game in May 1974.

He drove the pole home that night in his Austin-Healy Sprite, holding the pole down the length of his car with his left hand out the window. It’s now planked on the ceiling of his garage.

Wilson’s bed has UT sheets and pillows, all neatly organized. He says he hasn’t slept in it for a year because he doesn’t want to mess it up. So he usually sleeps on his couch, which is a UT couch, of course.

“I like to hang things,” Wilson said, looking around his house. “Obviously.”

He was there for Vince Young’s magical touchdown run against USC in the 2005 championship game. He was there at Royal-Memorial Stadium to see Ricky Williams shatter Tony Dorsett’s NCAA rushing record in 1998. He’s been there for Heisman Trophy seasons and national championship seasons, from Darrell Royal to Fred Akers to David McWilliams to John Mackovic to Mack Brown and now to Charlie Strong.

Want to take a trip through time, to the games that Wilson has attended and some of those iconic moments he’s witnessed? So you can see the love? So you can see what the greatest Texas fan of all time has seen?

For a closer look at Wilson’s home, as well as an interactive tour into some of his memorabilia, click here.

First pitch

It’s March 4, 2016 — 35 minutes before Wilson was to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for his 1,000th straight UT baseball game earlier this season at the Texas-Cal series opener at Disch-Falk.

Wilson stood on the edge of the practice mound inside the Texas bullpen, warming up a right arm that had been hibernating for 20 years.

“I hope I don’t roll it in there,” he said.

Wilson was throwing to James Barton, the Longhorns’ bullpen catcher. Most of his practice pitches were one-hoppers to the plate. Others barely reached Barton. Two went for strikes. When the wind shifted to his back, maybe he clocked around 25 mph.

“This isn’t going to be pretty at all,” Wilson said.

When it came time for the real thing, he lofted the first pitch from the edge of the mound. It skipped to home plate. One of his friends, a major league scout, clocked the pitch. It was 22 mph.

After his pitch, Wilson settled into his seat, the same one he’d sat in for 999 straight games. “Come on, Horns!” someone yelled out. “Get a win for Scott.”

Like his ceremonial first pitch, Texas came up short. Cal won, 4-3.

All smiles in Louisville

It’s Dec. 15, 2012 — when Wilson traveled to Louisville to watch Texas and Oregon face off for the 2012 NCAA volleyball national championship.

Sitting in the stands of the KFC Yum! Center, Wilson appeared on the ESPN broadcast wearing a hard-nosed expression and a jutted jaw. Soon after, his cell phone buzzed with a text message from his dentist back home.

“Why don’t you smile,” the text read.

“I get real tense during volleyball,” Wilson explained. “I don’t know why it is. I get more tense.”

The Longhorns swept Oregon 3-0 to win Texas’ second volleyball national championship. When it was over, Wilson thumbed through his phone.

“I’m smiling now,” he texted back to his dentist. “Don’t you see these purty teeth?”

A marathon memory

It’s May 31, 2009 — and Wilson was there at Disch-Falk for the entirety of the longest baseball game in NCAA history, a 25-inning duel between Texas and Boston College in the Austin Regional.

After the seventh inning, the game was tied 2-2. Texas reliever Austin Wood threw 12 1/3 innings of no-hit ball, and it wasn’t done until Connor Rowe scored the winning run in the 25th. The game took seven hours to play. It didn’t end until one in the morning.

“Some people remember it as a magical night,” Wilson said.

The problem with a 25-inning ordeal? The concession stands close. Sometime around the 21st inning, Wilson’s stomach started to grumble. So he scavenged for food around the Disch.

“They have this table over there, coming in the main gate at Disch-Falk, where they confiscated people’s food that they were trying to carry in,” Wilson recalled. “And they just left it over there, and I went over there and got some chips.”

The game started on Saturday and ended Sunday morning. Later that day, for the matchup with Army, Wilson found the stadium manager at the Disch, a guy they call Sugar.

“You know, your confiscated food table came in handy about the 21st inning.” Wilson told him.

In Scott Wilson's UT memorabilia collection is one of the cleats worn by UT baseball player Connor Rowe who made the winning run in that marathon of a game that was the longest collegiate game in history. (Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)
In Scott Wilson’s UT memorabilia collection is one of the cleats worn by UT baseball player Connor Rowe who made the winning run in that marathon of a game that was the longest collegiate game in history.
(Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)

It’s Texas baseball. Wilson never thinks about leaving early. It’s tradition for him to lead “The Eyes of Texas” after games. “I’ve got a job to do,” he said.

Sports fans love to tell tales about epic events they’ve attended. Wilson has the proof that he was there that night. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has Wood’s baseball cap he wore that night, and the Louisville Slugger bat that Travis Tucker used to score Rowe with the game winner. Rowe’s left cleat sits in a display case at Wilson’s home, next to a 12-foot long Baylor flag.

VY’s big night

It’s Jan. 4, 2006 — Vince Young’s iconic game. Texas vs USC, No. 1 vs. No. 2, for the national championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Wilson had flown out the day before with his close friend. Their tickets were in Texas’ end zone.

Every Texas fan knows the story. And ending. The Longhorns dominated the first half, the Trojans surged in the third quarter, and with six minutes left to play, Texas trailed by 12.

Wilson didn’t panic.

“I got me a couple more beers, because I wanted to see what the show was going to be,” he said. “And sure enough, it was a show.”

Young’s 17-yard touchdown cut USC’s lead to 38-33 with four minutes left. The Longhorns stuffed LenDale White on fourth-and-1 to get the ball back, and Young drove Texas to the 9-yard line. On fourth-and-5, Young crossed the right pylon to win the game.

But from way over at the opposite end zone, Wilson couldn’t see the play.

“You can’t tell whether he’s crossed the goal line or not,” he said. “And then you see the referee go like that (signaling touchdown), and everyone went crazy then.”

Texas won its fourth national football championship that night, 41-38. Wilson has been there for two of the school’s other national championships, in 1969 and 1970.

Game of the Century

It’s Dec. 6, 1969 — Texas vs. Arkansas at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark. “The Game of the Century.”

Wilson, a UT freshman in his first semester, and five classmates squeezed into a white two-door Dodge 330 and made the road trip. They slept in the car on Friday night in the parking lot of Razorback Stadium. A security officer woke them up around 8 a.m. on game day — and kicked them out of the parking lot. They ended up showering in a community bath at a dorm on campus.

With President Nixon also in attendance, Wilson and his friends watched as the No. 1-ranked Longhorns fought back from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to win, 15-14, on James Street’s legendary “Right 53 Veer Pass” completion to Randy Peschel and Jim Bertelsen’s go-ahead touchdown run. And Tom Campbell’s interception with less than a minute to go sealed the game.

After Texas defeated Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl, it was the first, but not the last, national championship for Wilson.

Where it all began

It’s Nov. 1, 1958 — and 7-year-old Scott Wilson went to his first UT football game with his father, at Memorial Stadium. The Longhorns lost to 17th-ranked SMU, 26-10.

Wilson left that day with a Texas Longhorns pennant — whether he asked his dad for it or whether his dad simply gave it to him, he doesn’t remember. But it’s an important pennant.

This pennant was among the first in Scott Wilson's collection, from the very first Texas game he attended in the 1950s. (Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)
This pennant was among the first in Scott Wilson’s collection, from the very first Texas game he attended in the 1950s.
(Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)

“I was probably more interested in the pennant than the damn game,” Wilson said. “… I just remember being with my daddy.”

Some 57 years later, Wilson still has that creamsicle-colored pennant. It’s tattooed on the wall of his north Austin home, along with thousands of other UT items and pieces of memorabilia.

Wilson has attended games while running a fever, or battling upper-respiratory infections. Back in 2008, he had his left knee scoped in February and made it to a UT softball game the next day. He once went to a volleyball match two days after having prostate surgery.

He’s closing in on his 500th consecutive UT football game — No. 500 would come early in the 2018 season, give or take a bowl game or two — and this weekend he’ll stretch his seemingly endless baseball streak. Beckworth and other friends wonder how much longer Wilson can keep it going.

Wilson is old enough to know that every song eventually ends, but he’s young enough to keep on singing. He’ll keep this going. It’s his true love.

Besides, the Longhorns are still playing, aren’t they?

For a closer look at Wilson’s home, as well as an interactive tour into some of his memorabilia, click here.

Longhorns fan Scott Wilson. (Patrick T. Fallon/The Dallas Morning News)
Longhorns fan Scott Wilson. (Patrick T. Fallon/The Dallas Morning News)

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