Former catcher Earl Williams has passed away (updated)

Another member of the Orioles family has passed away.

Former catcher Earl Williams, who spent the 1973 and 1974 seasons in Baltimore, died at 64. No other details are available at this time.

Update: According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Williams was diagnosed with acute leukemia last July.

The Orioles acquired Williams and Taylor Duncan from the Atlanta Braves on Nov. 30, 1972 for Davey Johnson, Pat Dobson, Roric Harrison and Johnny Oates.

Williams batted .245/.330/.411 with 36 homers and 135 RBIs in 250 games before the Orioles traded him back to the Braves on April 17, 1975 for Jimmy Freeman.

Johnson, currently the Nationals’ manager, belted 43 homers in 1973. He never hit more than 18 except for that season. His 99 RBIs eclipsed his previous high of 72.

Manager Earl Weaver, who passed away Jan. 19 at 82, proclaimed that he would win the pennant if the front office gave him Williams, but the trade didn’t pan out for the Orioles. The biggest benefit was it created room for Bobby Grich at second base.

Williams batted .247/.318/.424 with 138 homers over parts of eight major league seasons. He spent more time at first base than behind the plate after leaving the Orioles, and he retired after the Athletics released him on May 17, 1978.

On Sept. 10, 1971, Williams became the only Braves player besides Hank Aaron to hit a home run into the upper deck at Fulton County Stadium.

Williams probably will be remembered more locally for his nickname, “Big Money,” and the dollar sign he inked on the bill of his batting helmet.

The funeral service will be held Feb. 9 in Somerset, N.J.

blog comments powered by Disqus