Jeff Williams (baseball)

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For other people named Jeffrey Williams, see Jeffrey Williams (disambiguation).
Jeff Williams
HT-Jeffrey-Williams.jpg
Relief pitcher
Born: (1972-06-06) 6 June 1972 (age 42)
Canberra, Australia
Batted: Right Threw: Left
Professional debut
MLB: 12 September, 1999 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
NPB: 29 March, 2003 for the Hanshin Tigers
Last professional appearance
MLB: 28 September, 2002 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
NPB: 20 July, 2009 for the Hanshin Tigers
NPB statistics
Win-Loss 16-17
Earned run average 2.20
Strikeouts 418
MLB statistics
Win-Loss 4-1
Earned run average 7.49
Strikeouts 30
Teams
Olympic medal record
Competitor for  Australia
Men's Baseball
Silver 2004 Athens Team Competition

Jeffrey Francis Williams (born 6 June 1972 in Canberra, Australia) was an Australian-born, left-handed pitcher who played for the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. He was a specialist set-up pitcher, or closer.

Olympics[edit]

Williams pitched for the Australian Olympic baseball team in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. The team placed 7th overall in the competition.

Williams again pitched for the Australian Olympic baseball team in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The Australian team was awarded the Silver Medal in the competition after losing in the final to the team from Cuba. Willams was credited with two saves during the tournament, including the semi-final game against Japan where he prevented the Japanese team from scoring, preserving the 1–0 win.[1][2]

Professional career[edit]

Williams was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996. Williams began his Major League Baseball career in September 1999 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched for the Dodgers until September 2002. While with the Dodgers in 2000 and 2001, the tandem of Williams and fellow Australian Luke Prokopec gained considerable popularity in the Los Angeles area.[3] However, the attention was short lived, as both moved on to other franchises.

In 2003, Williams signed with the Hanshin Tigers, and earned 25 saves as a closer (52 games), helping the Tigers win their first Central League championship in 18 years.

In 2004, he pitched in 51 games, earning 14 saves. In 2005, he reverted to the role of set-up pitcher appearing in 75 games for the Hanshin Tigers, who won the championship.

Williams pitched for the Tigers for another 3 years, and his most recent contract was signed in 2008, which was a 2-year contract. He was likely one of the longest "foreign" (Note: Foreign player here means non-Japanese players who neither entered through draft nor obtaining FA right.) players in Tiger's history.

His performance in set-up pitching, combined with his set-up and closing pitcher teammate Kyuji Fujikawa and Tomoyuki Kubota, were well known by fans and other teams. Their formation was given the nickname JFK by their team, taking their initials with their pitching order (Jeff, Fujikawa, Kubota). The formation was one important element boosting Hanshin's countless victories, even though they had a poor starting pitcher line (Hanshin's starting pitcher's team ERA in 2007 was 4.45, the worst in the league, but their overall ERA was 3.56, best in the league)

After his retirement,[4] Williams signed with the Tigers as a scout on 2 March 2011.[5][6]

Collegiate career[edit]

Williams played college ball for Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, from 1992 to 1996. In his senior year, Williams was selected as an NCAA Division I All-American; that year he registered 125 strikeouts and 12 wins. In 2004, he was inducted into the SLU Lions Hall of Fame.

Mitchell Report[edit]

On 13 December 2007, Williams was named as a player linked to performance enhancing drug use in the Mitchell Report for Major League Baseball. In the report, Kirk Radomski claims he sold the steroids Anavar and Dianabol to Williams. The document includes a photocopy of a February 2004 check from Williams to Radomski in the amount of $1,820 and mentions that Williams address and phone number were in Radomski's address book. Williams did not respond to a request to meet with Mitchell to address these accusations.[7]

After the Mitchell Report became public, Hanshin Tigers club president Nobuo Minami defended Williams stating

"I trust him, He (Williams) flatly denied the use of any banned substances and said he is ready to accept fresh checkups at any time."[8]

In Olympic competition and while playing in Japan, where they conform with Olympic testing standards, Williams has never tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]