Longtime major league hurler Jerome Williams has retired, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (Twitter links). Williams is now at the Winter Meetings interviewing with teams for a coaching job, according to Fenech.
Now 37, Williams hasn’t suited up for a major league team since 2016, when he threw 17 1/3 innings with the Cardinals. Williams spent parts of the past two seasons pitching in Venezuela, Mexico and with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League. However, the right-hander did enjoy a long career in the majors, during which he recorded a 4.59 ERA across 1,029 2/3 innings (236 appearances, 149 starts) and amassed at least 100 frames in seven seasons. Known for sporting a puka shell necklace and a pink glove, Williams nobly used his time in the spotlight to raise awareness for cancer in honor of his mother, who passed away of breast cancer in 2001.
A first-round pick of the Giants in 1999, Williams was their top-ranked prospect twice (in 2000 and ’01) and was also among baseball’s 50 best farmhands three times (2000-02), according to Baseball America. Williams debuted in San Francisco in impressive fashion in 2003, when he put up a stingy 3.30 ERA and totaled 2.0 fWAR over 131 innings and 21 starts, though he wasn’t able to replicate that success over the rest of his career.
After Williams’ effectiveness dipped in his second and third seasons, the Giants traded him (and David Aardsma) to the Cubs in 2005 for reliever LaTroy Hawkins. That was the first in a long line of big league transactions Williams was part of, though it was the only trade involving him. Along with the Giants, Cubs and Cardinals, Williams pitched for the Nationals, Angels, Rangers, Astros and Phillies at baseball’s highest level. The nomadic Williams also took the mound in pro leagues in Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Long Beach, Calif.
MLBTR congratulates Williams on an interesting playing career and wishes him the best in his attempt to join the coaching ranks.