He began life as an orphan abandoned in Seattle, grew up in foster homes and made it all the way to the top of professional baseball. He pitched a respectable six years with the San Francisco Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers. And then it all disappeared in a bad marriage, alcoholism and a horrific car crash.
...He played for the famous Sparky Anderson, manager of the Detroit Tigers, and for the disgraced Pete Rose of Cincinnati, now stripped of all baseball honours over his gambling. During his Cincinnati years, as a young member of the bullpen, Williams said he even placed bets for Rose.
And after, when Williams was traded to Detroit and Rose had been exposed, Anderson told him, “You know, Pete’s my boy” and then proceeded to play him game after game after game. Before the season was over, his arm was “blown out.”
Williams sometimes wonders if those non-stop playing days in Detroit weren’t some kind of payback over what happened to Rose. And he also wonders if Rose didn’t trade him in the first place out of jealousy. The manager’s wife and her friends would sometimes talk the young pitcher into taking them clubbing.