All-Time Indians: Stan Williams

Name: Stanley Wilson Williams Position: Relief Pitcher
Nick Name: Big Daddy Number: 35
Tribe Time: 1965, 1967-1969 DOB: 09/14/1936
Stats W L W% ERA G GS SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1968) 13 11 0.542 2.50 44 24 9 194.1 163 54 14 51 147 1.10 6.8 .219
Career 25 29 0.463 3.12 124 47 22 456.0 388 158 46 145 362 1.17 7.1 .221

Stan Williams was already a seven year veteran when he came to Cleveland in 1965 after being purchased from the Yankees. To that point he had been an above average starter with the Yankees and Dodgers, but those days were over when he joined the Tribe. After just 4.1 innings and a 6.23 ERA in 1965, Williams spent all of 1966 in AAA in the Pacific Coast League with the Dodgers affiliate the Spokane Indians. He stayed in the minors in 1967 until July, when he finally rejoined the big league squad.

Despite only playing half a season, he still racked up 79 innings between starting and relieving while holding a 2.69 ERA. It was his largest percentage of playing time as a reliever since 1958 with the Dodgers. In 1968, Williams had a resurgence posting a 2.50 ERA in 194.1 innings. That season, he was mostly a starter, but also relieved in 20 games including a career high nine saves. Despite his greatness as a starter, his future was switching from the beginning to the end.

In 1969, Williams took over as closer for Vincente Romo and finished out 23 games. In addition to his 12 saves, he started 15 games, pitching 178.1 innings in total. His ERA jumped some to 3.94, but was about to see another improvement as over the rest of his career he would only start two more games after starting 206 over his first 11 years. He would not make those relief appearances for the Indians however, as he was traded during that off-season to the Minnesota Twins along with Luis Tiant in exchange for Graig Nettles, Dean Chance, Bob Miller and Ted Uhlaender.

Williams and Tiant had both been with the Indians for awhile and been successful, but that was nothing compared to what Tiant had in store for the future. The names coming to the Indians were huge as well, but didn’t help the Indians as much as it would seem. Dean Chance was a Cy Young winner earlier in his career, but was pretty much used up by the time he came to Cleveland. Miller also played just a single year of his 17 year career with the Tribe. Future All-Star and Gold Glover Nettles was the steal of the trade, but only played three years with the Indians before being sent to super-stardom in New York in exchange for a bunch of nothing. Finally, Uhlaender was the worst player of the group and ended up playing just two years with Cleveland of little success before retiring with the Reds after 1972. In the end, this trade was bad at the start and even worse in the end as the Indians wasted the one great player they received.

Williams didn’t stick with the Twins very long, but he did cement his legacy as a top reliever with 15 saves and 10 wins alongside a 1.99 ERA in 1970. He quickly flamed out after that and finished his career just two years later with Boston. In 1974, he attempted a comeback, but never made it past AA Bristol. He wasn’t done with the Red Sox however, as just a year later he was named their pitching coach. On and off, he was the pitching coach for different teams all the way through 1999 with the Mariners. After this, he became a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays until 2006, then later became a scout for the Washington Nationals, where he remains to this day.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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