Friday, May 05, 2006

Stan Williams

A batter digs in at the plate. Instinctively, the pitcher snarls and gives him a little "chin music" in return.

It is a scene that has been repeated time and again on baseball diamonds everywhere.

It is part of the very fabric of the game.

And few pitchers were better at brushing back enemy batters than Stanley Wilson Williams.

He was pretty good at hitting batters, too.

Yep, "Big Daddy" was what they call a beanball artist, a headhunter.

Some say that the 6-foot-5, 230 pound flame-throwing right-hander was one of the meanest and most intimidating pitchers to ever toe the rubber.

He liked to throw the high, hard one at any point during the game, regardless of the score or pitch count. And the numbers back it up. He finished in the top 10 in hit batsmen a total of six times in his career.

He seemed to think that a hitter was crowding the plate as soon as he stepped onto the on-deck circle.

It was as if he felt he was most effective when the batter was lying on his backside sprawled on the dirt, desperately gasping for air.

Williams was born on September 1, 1936, in Enfield, New Hampshire. He was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and made his major league debut four years later during the club's inaugural season in Los Angeles. He played in the big leagues for 14 years with six different teams, retiring in 1972.

He had his greatest success as a Dodger, winning 14 or more games in three consecutive seasons, 1960-to-1962. He was an all-star in 1960 and struck out a career high 205 batters in 1961, finishing second in the league behind teammate Sandy Koufax.

However, Los Angeles fans will likely remember Williams for a game he lost. On October 3, 1962, Dodger skipper Walt Alston called on Williams to pitch the ninth inning of the third and deciding playoff game against the San Francisco Giants with the club holding on precariously to a 4-3 lead. The bases were loaded and there was just one out. The lead would not last. Williams promptly gave up a sacrifice fly to Orlando Cepeda to tie the game, and then walked in the winning run.

This turned out to be Williams' last game as a Dodger. He was traded to the New York Yankees for first baseman Bill Skowron during the off-season.

[1] Goddard, Joe. "Brushback Becoming an Endangered Species." The Sporting News, July 29, 1978, 22.


At 10:07 PM, Blogger sufferwords said...

I just cut myself the blood dripped all over the sink, how do you get a blue stain off tile?


At 11:36 PM, Blogger izman1999 said...

Ask tommy lasorda. He bleeds dodger blue, too.


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