Frank Williams, 1958-2009

SF Gate reported in a brief blurb that former Giants pitcher Frank Williams had passed away. I remembered Williams as a pretty good sidearm righty, number 47, who was a solid middle reliever for the Giants back in the mid 80s. He pitched for parts of three seasons for the Giants before being traded to the Reds for Eddie Milner. He had put up pretty solid stats (career ERA 3.00) and I had never heard why his career ended so abruptly after just six pretty good seasons.

I poked around and found the original source story, which gave the heartrending answer. His career ended after a car accident, and after that he left his family for Victoria, British Columbia, where other than a brief comeback attempt with the local Victoria Mavericks, he steadily declined over the years, bottoming out as an alcoholic on the streets and hanging out in a local sports memorabilia store, reliving stories of his major league years with store patrons.

At the end, with his major league earnings all gone (according to Baseball Reference, he made $1.44 million in his career), he was all but homeless and alone, sleeping in various shelters and using his old baseball cards as identification. What a sad ending to what had been a promising life.

With this, now three members of the ‘86 Giants are gone: Williams, Jose Uribe, and Chris Brown. Rest in peace, Mr. Williams, you’re now warming up in the bullpen up above.

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This post was written by Hank on January 15, 2009