Gerald Williams

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Gerald Floyd Williams

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Biographical Information[edit]

Gerald Williams first came up with the New York Yankees in 1992 after they had drafted him in the 14th round of the 1987 amateur draft. He played progressively more in his first three seasons with the team, and by 1995, he was a the team,s fourth outfielder, getting 182 at-bats in 100 games as the team made it to the postseason for the first time since 1981. He was mainly there for his strong defensive play, although he did have some power, as attested by his 18 doubles and 6 homers in that limited number of at-bats, and an OPS+ of 105 in spite of a batting average of .247. In the Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, he appeared in all five games, but went 0 for 5 with 2 walks and a run scored. In 1996, he was the Yankees' regular left fielder at the start of the year, hitting .270 in 99 games, but on August 23rd he was included in a major trade with the Milwaukee Brewers along with P Bob Wickman that landed the Yankees Graeme Lloyd, Pat Listach and Ricky Bones. Lloyd was instrumental in helping the team win a World Series title that fall, but Williams missed out.

He was already 30 by the time the 1997 season started, but he was entering a four-year stretch in which he played almost every day, first for the Brewers, then for the Atlanta Braves in 1998 and 1999, and finally for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000. He hit 10 homers the first two years, batted .305 in his first season in Atlanta, and then had seasons of 17 and 21 homers, adding 89 RBIs the final year. He returned to the postseason in both of his seasons with the Braves and faced the Yankees in the 1999 World Series, when he went 3 for 17 in the Braves' loss. While his numbers looked superficially good during those four years, his OPS+ was below 100 in three of the four as he did not walk much, and his power was not all that impressive at the height of the "steroids" era of baseball.

He returned to the Yankees halfway through the 2001 season, after having been released by the Devil Rays but hit just .170 in 38 games and was left off the postseason roster. In 2002, he appeared in 33 games, largely as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, as he scored 6 runs but did not collect a hit in 17 at-bats. He finished his career with appearances with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and the New York Mets in 2004 and 2005, with a maximum of 57 games, in 2004. Overall, he played 14 major league seasons and hit .255 with 85 homers and 365 RBIs in 1,168 games.

He had a cameo in a sketch on Saturday Night Live, on December 13, 1997. He was a close friend of former Yankees teammate Derek Jeter. He passed away from cancer in February of 2022, aged 55.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2000)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Don Burke: "Gerald Williams, former Yankees outfielder, dead at 55", New York Post, February 8, 2022. [1]

Related Sites[edit]