Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Thursday, June 3, 2010

1976 Topps #458 - Earl Williams

  • Earl Williams played in the majors from 1970-1977. Williams was a first round draft pick of the Milwaukee Braves in 1965. He was only 17 years old when he started playing in the minors in 1966. He started off as a pitcher in 1966 and was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 games. Williams was moved to outfield and then to first base after the 1966 season. Earl batted .340 with 33 HR in Class A ball in 1969 and .309 with 24 HR in AA and AAA in 1970. Williams batted .368 in 10 games for the Braves at the end of the 1970 season.
  • Earl was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1971. He batted .260 with 33 HR and 87 RBI. The Braves converted Williams to catcher even though he hadn't played the position in the minors. He also saw a lot of action at 1B and 3B. 
  • Earl signed a $35,000 contract but reported to spring training 15 pounds overweight. Will The Sophomore Jinx Hobble Earl Williams? - May 1972 Baseball Digest. Williams had a similar year in 1972, batting .258 with 28 HR and 87 RBI. He became disenchanted with catching and after the 1972 season Williams was  traded with Taylor Duncan to the Baltimore Orioles for Pat Dobson, Roric Harrison, Davey Johnson and Johnny Oates.
  • The Orioles were hoping for big things out of Earl. Jim Palmer was an early critic of the deal, but manager Earl Weaver thought he could win the pennant with Williams behind the plate. It was a tumultuous season for Earl, but the Orioles did win the AL East. In 1973 he batted .237 with 22 HR and 83 RBI. Williams batted .278 with 1 HR in five games in the 1973 ALCS.
  • Earl didn't do as much in 1974, batting .254 with 14 HR and 52 RBI in 118 games. Williams was hitless in six at bats in the 1974 ALCS.
  • On April 17, 1975 Earl was traded back (with cash) to the Braves for Jimmy Freeman. Williams spilt time between first base and catcher in 1975 and batted .240 with 11 HR and 50 RBI in 111 games. In 1976 Earl started off slowly (.212 with 9 HR and 36 RBI in 61 games) and was sold to the Montreal Expos on July 24. Williams played in 61 games for the Expos and batted .237 with 8 HR and 29 RBI.
  • Williams was released by the Expos during spring training in 1977. Earl signed with the Oakland A's and batted .241 with 13 HR and 38 RBI in 100 games. Williams broke his thumb during spring training in 1978 and was unable to play. The A's released Earl on May 17. Nobody claimed him off of waivers and Earl played two years (1979 and 1980) in the Mexican League.
  • Liked to face: Dan Spillner (.571 in 14 AB); Jim Slaton (.478 in 23 AB); Jim Kaat (.471 in 17 AB)
  • Hated to face: Steve Foucault/Jim Brewer (.000 in 11 AB); Bruce Kison (.056 in 18 AB); Don Sutton (.071 in 28 AB)

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