Frank Williams (willifr01)

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Frank Lee Williams

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Biographical Information[edit]

Frank Williams grew up an orphan in Seattle, WA, shuttling from foster home to foster home. Still, he managed to overcome this difficult start in life to attend college and play Major League Baseball, spending six seasons as a relief pitcher with three different teams from 1984 to 1989.

He had an excellent rookie season for the San Francisco Giants in 1984, going 9-4, 3.65, in 61 games, including pitching a complete game shutout in what would be the only start of his career. It came on May 5, 1984 against the St. Louis Cardinals, a 7-0 win in a game interrupted by rain after five innings. In 1985, he fell to 2-4, 4.19 but put up a sparkling 1.20 ERA in 52 innings in 1986. After the season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, with two minor leaguers, in return for outfielder Eddie Milner. He pitched 85 games for the Reds in 1987, the third-highest total in the National League that year and was outstanding all around, going 4-0 with 2 saves and a 2.30 ERA in 106 innings. He continued to pitch effectively for the Reds in 1988, posting a 2.59 ERA, although his innings fell to 63 and his K/BB ratio was a pedestrian 43/35. He was released at the end of the season and signed with the Detroit Tigers. He issued 46 walks in 72 innings for the Tigers in 1989, while only striking out 33 batters, but still was generally effective in 42 innings of work. Overall, he went 24-14, 3.00 in 333 games while picking up 8 saves. He also played one game in the outfield on September 4, 1989.

His career was ended by a car accident after the 1989 season, sending his life into a tailspin. Shortly afterwards, he broke up with his wife. During his playing days, he had discovered that his roots came from a First Nation in Port Alberni, BC, Canada, and he moved to nearby Victoria, BC after the breakup of his marriage to be close to his only relatives. He played briefly for the amateur Victoria Mavericks, but soon found his life wrecked by alcoholism. He began to live on the streets, his main source of income coming from autographing baseball cards. A local sports memorabilia store served as his surrogate home address while he was wandering the streets, bouncing between homeless shelters and detoxication centers in his last years.

He suffered a heart attack in December 2008 and went into a coma from which he never recovered. He died on January 9, 2009. His relatives in Port Alberni organized his funeral.

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