Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1971 Topps Earl Williams

Earl Williams was a pitcher in high school when he was drafted by the Braves in the first round of the 1965 draft. As a minor leaguer in the Braves' system he would pitch only 8 games before becoming a position player. He played first, third, and the outfield. He even played a game at shortstop but he didn't play catcher until his rookie season in the majors. His began the 1971 season platooning at 1st and 3rd. By June he had found a home behind the plate. His bat made up for his defensive shortcomings. He hit 33 homers his rookie year.

After 2 solid seasons in Atlanta, Baltimore's Earl Weaver said "Give me Earl Williams and I'll win the pennant." He got Williams but he had to give up 2 starting pitchers, his everyday first baseman and everyday catcher. The Orioles won their division in both 1973 and 1974 but could not get past the Oakland A's. In 1975 Williams was dealt back to the Brave along with cash for a minor league pitcher. 

By 1978, Williams was on the outside looking in. He even went so far as to place an ad in the New York Times:

1 comment:

  1. I did a search on your site for "Williams" cards and came across this one, as well as many other great images and such. But, the reason I was searching "Williams" in the first place was to see if you ever thought of creating an Art Williams card. He was the first black umpire in the NL - and the only one for his entire career. He did not make his debut until 1973.