Former Reds pitcher, Frank Williams passed away last Friday, ending an extremely tragic life that left him on the streets in the end. In a story that reads like a Hollywood script, Williams grew up an orphan, bouncing round from home to home in Seattle. He obviously found his great talent and made it all the way to the bigs, pitching for the San Francisco Giants. He came to the Reds 1987 and pitched with them through ’88. In 1989 he suited up for the Detroit Tigers, but a car crash that year ended his major league career. Life seemed to spiral after that. You can read more of the story right here.
Since Williams’ was a Red, this story would have caught my eye no matter what, but a project I am working on made it hit just a touch harder. I’m attempting to collect a complete autographed set of 1987 Topps Reds cards. hiss rookie card is in the traded set from that season, so at one point I attempted to track him down to hopefully send him a card via the mail. I never did find much information and I certainly didn’t see anything about how his life had taken a turn for the worse years ago. This was totally out of the blue, as I’m sure it was for most baseball fans. He joins Bo Diaz as another player from that 1987 Reds squad that has passed away. Very sad. Obviously, I’m really not worried about the autograph… but it did just make me pause for a little long today when I saw that headline in my RSS reader.