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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Frank Williams goes from pro baseball to the streets

The “extreme highs and equally extreme lows”...of Frank Williams.

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.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2007 at 06:07 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, history, reds, tigers

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 21, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2493594)
Williams wasn't traded to Detroit; the Reds released him following the 1988 season, and he signed with Detroit as a free agent.

Williams pitched in 42 games with the Tigers in 1989. There are a couple of stretches in that period where Williams was used frequently - he pitched three times in four days from May 19-22 and again from June 10-13 - but I don't see any clear pattern of overwork in Williams's game log. He missed a couple of weeks in early July and a month later on.

-- MWE
   2. Guapo Posted: August 21, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2493602)
A lot of the story doesn't sound quite right. I hate to speculate based on a news article, but you've got to wonder about Mr. Williams' mental state and whether he might need some medical attention.
   3. Mike Webber Posted: August 21, 2007 at 06:38 PM (#2493604)
At the end of 1989 came a horrific car crash when his then-wife drove their car into a tree. Williams wasn't wearing a seat belt, injured his neck and sheared off half his face.


He doesn't look half bad in the picture for having half his face sheared off. Must have been a helluva' good plastic surgeon nearby.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 21, 2007 at 07:06 PM (#2493636)
It's a little misleading to say that Williams is "on the streets". To quote the article about his sleeping in homeless shelters and detox clinics:

In Victoria, he stays at homeless shelter, broken up with nights at a detox centre (just for the bed, not the program, Williams insists). These stays are just temporary arrangements, he says, while he works his job setting dynamite for a blasting company.


His staying at such centers, unlike that of many people, is a matter of choice. I doubt someone who is visibly mentally unstable could get a job handling dynamite.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 21, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2493646)
[H]e stays at homeless shelter, broken up with nights at a detox centre (just for the bed, not the program, Williams insists). These stays are just temporary arrangements, he says, while he works his job setting dynamite for a blasting company. [emphasis added]


I'm not sure this article has any sources other than Williams himself. You would think that would have given the reporter some pause, but perhaps this is in the "too good to check" category.
   6. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: August 21, 2007 at 07:11 PM (#2493652)
Does his pension really pay $120,000?
   7. strummer Posted: August 21, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2493661)
I doubt someone who is visibly mentally unstable could get a job handling dynamite.


So are you proposing that someone who is mentally stable would want a job handling dynamite?

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