Johnny Williams

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Note: This page is for 1940s pitcher Johnny Williams; for the pitcher in 1914, click here.

John Joseph Williams Jr.
(Nature Boy)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 210 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Johnny Williams was a pitcher in he Negro Leagues and in the minor leagues.

Williams pitched for minor teams from 1935-1943 before joining the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns in 1944 and going 6-4. He was 0-1 for the same club in 1945. He led the 1945 California Winter League with a 5-2 record. With the 1946 Indianapolis Clowns, he was 5-0. He pitched for the West in both East-West Games of 1946. In the first game, he pitched shutout ball in the 8th and 9th after replacing Gentry Jessup and was the top West hurler in a 6-3 defeat. In the second game, he replaced Dan Bankhead in the 7th and allowed one run in three innings, on two hits, a walk and a hit batsmen. He got the save in a 4-1 West victory.

Pitching for Cienfuegos in the winter of 1946-1947, he was 0-1 with four walks and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 IP. He also played in the 1947 Cuban National Federation, going 2-2 for the title-winning Marianao club. He went 5-0 for the Clowns in 1947. In the second 1947 East-West Game, he relieved Ford Smith in the fourth and walked five in two innings while giving up two hits. He left with the bases loaded and none out in the 6th, replaced by Spoon Carter, but was not charged with a run for his work when Carter got out of the jam. Williams was also 0 for 2 at the plate in a 8-2 win by the West. Nature Boy set a record for most walks by a hurler in an East-West Game.

In the fall of 1947, Williams was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA against the Bob Feller All-Stars, a team featuring Ralph Kiner, Andy Pafko, Ferris Fain, Ken Keltner, Jeff Heath, Jim Hegan, Eddie Miller, Jerry Priddy and Roy Partee. Williams ended his career with the Clowns in 1948.

The right-hander signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and had some decent seasons in the minors, but a lack of control was his undoing. He debuted with the 1950 Trois-Rivières Royals, going 4-10 with a 4.42 ERA. He allowed only 73 hits in 120 innings but walked 135. Amazingly, he did not finish in the top five in the Canadian-American League in walks and a couple players with more would wind up in the majors. With the 1951 Elmira Pioneers, Johnny went 8-10 with a 2.57 ERA. He again had more walks (133) than hits (113 in 168 IP).

Williams split 1952 between Elmira (0-1) and the Hornell Dodgers (13-9, 2.14, 134 H, 139 BB in 198 IP). He was third in the PONY League in ERA, led in walks and was second in strikeouts, 8 behind Jim Coates. Williams ended up with Elmira in 1955, going 0-2.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NAL All-Star (1946 & 1947)


Related Sites[edit]