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LarryN

RIP Earl Williams

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A name that younger fans may not recognize, but I just read in Jason Stark's column that Earl Williams had passed at age 64 of Leukemia last week.

 

I remember Earl, because he had just been traded to the Orioles when I first started watching baseball in 1973. He had been the NL Rookie of the Year in '71 with the Braves, hitting 33 & 28 home runs his first two year. I guess it seemed like a good trade at the time, but he turned in to a bust, hitting .245 with 36 HR in his two seasons in Baltimore.

 

Earl Williams, the 1971 National League rookie of the year, died of leukemia last week at age 64. You might not remember Williams, a first-round draft pick who hit 61 home runs over his first two seasons, including 33 as a rookie. His career went into steady decline after that, and he was out of baseball by 1978. And that's when perhaps his most lasting claim to fame took place.

 

As the New York Times mentioned in his obit over the weekend, Williams was so desperate for a job that he took out a want ad in the Times.

 

Employment Wanted By Baseball Player

 

Earl Williams

 

1971 National League Rookie of the Year

 

Excellent Health -- No Police Record

 

Have Bat -- Will Travel -- Will Hustle

 

The "no police record" was a nice touch for the resume; but, unfortunately, there were no major league offers. Williams played two seasons in the Mexican League and then retired, sadly ending what had been a promising career. May he rest in peace.

 

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8917805/new-topps-baseball-cards-sign-season

 

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/williea02.shtml

 

http://hamrammobtown.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/earl-williams.jpg

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RIP Earl....I remember the trade that brought him here....Davey Johnson and a handful of others for Williams and another player...

 

he never lived up to his potential...Weaver had fits with him.....never really harnessed his full potential after his rookie season....

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RIP Earl....I remember the trade that brought him here....Davey Johnson and a handful of others for Williams and another player...

 

he never lived up to his potential...Weaver had fits with him.....never really harnessed his full potential after his rookie season....

 

 

Davey Johnson - who hit 43HR his first season in Atlanta (must have been PEDS, because he never hit more than 18 before or 15 after)

 

Pat Dobson - 2 years removed from winning 20, and a year before winning 19 for the Yankees

 

Roric Harrison & Johnny Oates - both serviceable pieces

 

Taylor Duncan came with Williams and banged around the Orioles minor league system for five years before they released him.

 

Williams, Oates, Dobson & Duncan are all dead now.

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Davey Johnson - who hit 43HR his first season in Atlanta (must have been PEDS, because he never hit more than 18 before or 15 after)

Wasn't that the year the Braves moved in the outfield fence to help Hank Aaron break Babe Ruth's total homerun record?

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Wasn't that the year the Braves moved in the outfield fence to help Hank Aaron break Babe Ruth's total homerun record?

 

Nope. In fact, in 1973, the dimensions were essentially the same as they had been between '69 thru '72, except that they moved right-center 10' further out. In '74 (the year Aaron broke the record), they moved left-center out 10'.

 

 

Field dimensions 1966-68 & 1974-96

Left field - 330 ft.

Left-Center - 385 ft.

Center Field - 402 ft.

Right-Center - 385 ft.

Right Field - 330 ft.

 

1969-1972

Left field - 330 ft.

Left-Center - 375 ft.

Center Field - 402 ft.

Right-Center - 375 ft.

Right Field - 330 ft.

 

1973

Left field - 330 ft.

Left-Center - 375 ft.

Center Field - 402 ft.

Right-Center - 385 ft.

Right Field - 330 ft.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta-Fulton_County_Stadium

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Weaver is the one who was banging on Peters to get Williams. He never looked like his heart was in the game,he looked lazy behind the plate.

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Weaver is the one who was banging on Peters to get Williams. He never looked like his heart was in the game,he looked lazy behind the plate.

Weaver drooled at the thought of a power hitting catcher. When Williams showed up, he didn't want to catch. He wanted to play first. At least Earl eventually go a power hitting shortstop later on..

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Earl Weaver's account of Earl Williams in his excellent autobiography "It's What You Learn After You Know it all That Counts" is unforgettably hilarious. The trade executed by the Orioles to acquire Williams from the Braves is probably the second-most painful in my memory (I think you all know which trade is the most painful). Most Orioles fans who rooted for the team during the early 1970's probably do not recall any great fondness for Williams. To put it mildly, he did not bring what one would call a "winning attitude" to the ballclub. A lot of my resentment for Williams dissolved when reading Weaver's humorous account of his two years trying to manage Earl Williams. Weaver sure didn't seem to hold a grudge, how could I?

 

What's weird about that trade is that three guys traded away by the Birds returned to the club as either manager (D. Johnson and J. Oates) or pitching coach (P. Dobson).

 

I don't know if Earl Williams was a good guy or a bad guy, but I'm sure that in his later years he probably regretted not taking his gifts more seriously, and I'm sure that those close to him personally are grieving at his passing.

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RIP Earl....I remember the trade that brought him here....Davey Johnson and a handful of others for Williams and another player...

 

he never lived up to his potential...Weaver had fits with him.....never really harnessed his full potential after his rookie season....

 

And Davey johnson hit over 40 Hr's for the Braves the next season.

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