Catching Pitcher Stan “Big Daddy” Williams

Pitcher Stan Williams proves my hunch.

Let’s see a current or former player convince us that fan reaction doesn’t matter. Did you see those Yankees in the pre-game introductions giggling over the boos from the California crowd? Everybody cares.

When I wrote to the fabled hurler, I began by quoting ESPN to him. Did he know he was part of their “All-Wired” team? How did he feel about the implication that he was a testosterone-driven maniac on the mound?

Williams responded with an amazing two-page reply, writing:

“Tom: you caught me at an extremely busy time. I’m back working again (Washington Nat’s), and I’m way behind getting my reports into the P.C. (Finally figured how to do it.)

‘MOST WIRED TEAM (ESPN) (1st heard of it): Please know baseball was an utterly different game then. We knocked down a lot of hitters, but just to gain an edge. We weren’t ‘head hunters.’ If some needed to be hit, you got him in the ribs or butt. We (I) didn’t need any extra runners on base. The Aaron story is true, but it was ‘tongue-in-cheek’ intimidation. Aaron was such a great hitter.”

The lesson from Coach Williams? Read up on the person you’re writing. Quote an article. Or quote the potential autograph signer back to himself. You might get more than a signature. You could land your own one-of-a-kind slice of baseball history.

Tomorrow: Stan belted five homers as a Dodger. He recounts his favorite blast, courtesy of Sal “The Barber” Maglie.

Coming Soon: A HOFer (?) + Stan Williams!

Do you mean a REAL Hall of Famer?!?

I heard from a Ford Frick winner, tireless broadcaster Bob Wolff. The writers and announcers have brought such baseball joy to me, I struggle to put an asterisk by their name. Technically, their name gets added to one huge award in Cooperstown. They aren’t enshrined with their own plaque.

Once I read Wolff’s DETAILED memories, I was sure he deserved some kind of HOF recognition. His revelations were jewels I had never found in any published history.

The same goes for pitcher Stan Williams. He returned a two-page letter full of amazing stories. The gritty pitcher is scouting for the Washington Nationals this year, he wrote. Quick, someone write him for an account of Stephen Strasburg. Does he seem glimpses of himself?

What Williams lacks in career stats, he makes up for with jaw-dropping insights. I think book publishers would race to get a memoir out of the former relief ace.

Additionally, I’ll have a great account of two “cups of coffee” from 1950s abbreviated careers, one from the Cincinnati Reds and the other with the Detroit Tigers. There’s no July vacation here. Superb baseball memories are sizzling on the grill.

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