Jeff Williams (baseball)
Williams with the Hanshin Tigers
Born: 6 June 1972|
|MLB: 12 September, 1999, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|NPB: 29 March, 2003, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|MLB: 28 September, 2002, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|NPB: 20 July, 2009, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|Earned run average||2.20|
|Earned run average||7.49|
|Olympic medal record|
|2004 Athens||Team competition|
Jeffrey Francis Williams (born 6 June 1972 in Canberra, Australia) is an Australian-born former left-handed pitcher who played for the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. He was a specialist set-up pitcher, or closer.
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.
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. However, the attention was short lived, as both moved on to other franchises.
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)
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.
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 oxandrolone and metandienone 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.
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."
- Jeffery, Nicole; Kogoy, Peter (2007-12-21). "Strip baseball medals: Gosper". The Australian. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
- Christie, James (2007-12-21). "Australian Olympic silver under question". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
- Turner, Jim (5 March 2003). Luke Prokopec, We Hardly Knew Ye
- ジェフ・ウィリアムス選手の現役引退について [Jeff Williams Retires from a Baseball Player] (in Japanese). Hanshin Tigers. 2011-02-14.
- ウィリアムスが阪神駐米スカウトに就任 [Williams signs with the Tigers as a scout]. Daily Sports (in Japanese). 2011-03-04.
- ジェフ・ウィリアムス氏との契約について [Contract with Jeff Williams] (in Japanese). Hanshin Tigers. 2011-03-04.
- "Mitchell Report pp. 227-8" (PDF).
- White, Paul (2007-12-24). "Ripple effect felt in Japan over Mitchell Report". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- "Jeff William's Baseball Stats", Baseball Almanac.
- Nippon Professional Baseball career statistics from JapaneseBaseball.com