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Earl Williams: 1948-2013

Jan 31, 2013, 2:50 PM EDT

earl williams card

Earl Williams, who won the NL Rookie of the Year for the Braves in 1971, died Monday at age 64. Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger writes that Williams was diagnosed with leukemia last July.

Williams was a catcher/first baseman who played eight seasons in the majors for the Braves, Orioles, A’s, and Expos from 1970-1977. In addition to his strong rookie year Williams was an above-average hitter in each of his first four full seasons, averaging 29 homers per 160 games, but hit just .235 with a .679 OPS after age 25 and was finished in the majors at age 28.

He was traded from the Braves to the Orioles in a deal that sent current Nationals manager Davey Johnson to Atlanta, and Castillo notes that he clashed with Baltimore manager Earl Weaver to the point that Williams was suspended for “a reluctance on Williams’ part to listen without interruption.”

  1. raysfan1 - Jan 31, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Love the 1972 baseball card set–got them all.

    RIP.

  2. badintent - Jan 31, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    RIP. Had to be a great man not to listen to Weaver’s constant babbling BS. Good for him.

  3. lazlosother - Jan 31, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    I still have my Earl Williams model catcher’s mitt. I got it when I was 11 or 12. Its a left-handed model, and I’ve used it for 40+ years now. Maybe I’ll get to use it with grand children.

  4. louhudson23 - Feb 2, 2013 at 5:31 AM

    I remember as a youngster in Alabama,listening to his first few games with the Braves as he set the world afire.. Later,moving to Maryland,we were with Earl once again. I remember clearly his TastyKake commercial and knowing he was a former Brave and an import like myself…..As time went on,it became clear that Earl was the epitome of Warning Track power. I can only imagine what 20 more feet on his fly balls might have done for him. RIP Earl.

    • 6stn - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:23 AM

      Warning track power: Another ex-Brave had that when he played at Busch Stadium-Bob Hoerner. User ID: I saw Lou Hudson play in his rookie year with the St. Louis Hawks. Not too many players today can shoot like that guy.

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