Straight Edger C. J. Wilson Will Pitch for Angels

Straight Edger C. J. Wilson Will Pitch for Angels

By Walter Armstrong 12/08/11

The flamboyant pitcher will take his abstinence advocacy to the Halos. Critics say he already wears one.

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C. J. Wilson with his trademark tattoos
and blue glove.
photo via

C. J. Wilson, the Texas Rangers’ flamboyant lefty starting pitcher, inked a $77.5 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels at 5:30 am this morning. If Wilson was up all night mulling his decision, he wasn’t knocking back beers. The hardest liquid he imbibes is Red Bull—just one of many traits that sets him apart from the typical pro ballplayer.

Wilson is as famous for his Straight Edge lifestyle as he is for his 98-mph fastball: he joined the no-alcohol, no-drugs (including tobacco), no-promiscuity punk subculture in 1988 at the precocious age of eight and has, in recent years, emerged as one of the ebbing movement’s leading figures. The 31-year-old’s body tattoos tell the tale: “STRAIGHT EDGE” is inked across his torso, and “POISON FREE”—in Japanese letters—adorns his shoulders. To accentuate the abstinence point, Wilson was wont to take the mound with a glove painted blue or red (depending on which uniform the Angels were sporting) and stitched with Straight Edge’s signature “XXX.” C. J. is also a Taoist.

Needless to say, such an individualist can roil a clubhouse, and few tears may be shed by fellow Rangers at his departure. The first professional athlete to embrace Twitter (@str8edgeracer), Wilson set his teammates on edge in 2008 when, after coming out as an ardent Obama supporter, he dissed them as “too uneducated and too rich” to care about the historic presidential campaign. He once tweeted that “the average guy in a professional clubhouse drives an SUV, drinks beer, golfs, likes college sports, chews or dips tobacco and is relatively a douchebag.”

Critics mocked him as "an AA meeting in cleats." But Wilson’s flight to the Angels marks a homecoming, and the native Southern Californian may find the Disney-owned team—aptly dubbed the Halos—a happier setting for his animatedly abstinent personality.

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Walter Armstrong is the Medical Editor at  Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and the former deputy editor of The Fix. You can find him on Linkedin.

 
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