Former Giants outfielder Mac Williamson is suing the team over a 2018 incident that saw Williamson suffer an on-field concussion. The lingering effects of that concussion “ended my career,” Williamson said, implying that he is done with the sport after eight professional seasons.
On April 24, 2018, Williamson was playing left field at Oracle Park (then known as AT&T Park) in a game between the Giants and Nationals. While in pursuit of a Bryce Harper fly ball into foul territory in the fifth inning, Williamson tripped over the bullpen mounds set up in foul ground and fell into the wall. He remained in the game until the ninth but didn’t appear in another game until May 25 after a stint on the concussion-related injured list.
In a Zoom news conference with Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle and other reporters today, Williamson gave a statement saying that the concussion “left me with lifelong injuries that have also taken a significant toll on my personal life. I suffer nausea, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and other issues. I wake up every day hoping that today is a better day and that I will get closer to how I felt before the injury.”
The on-field bullpen mounds were a part of Oracle Park since the stadium opened in 2000, but were moved off the field of play and behind the center field fence as part of renovations that took place prior to the 2020 season.
“Everybody’s career ends at some point. But to have it taken from me because the bullpen mounds were unnecessarily placed on the field is very hard to cope with,” Williamson said. “Although I will never be made whole, my intent on filing the lawsuit is holding park owners accountable for not only taking away my career, but carelessly risking every other great player’s careers by needlessly placing the bullpen mounds on the field.”
A third-round pick for the Giants in the 2012 draft, Williamson was a well-regarded prospect on his way up the minor league ladder before making his MLB debut in 2015. He hit only .228/.305/.406 in 200 plate appearances in 2016-17, though regular playing time was hard to find, and Williamson was frequently shuttled back and forth between the Giants’ roster and their Triple-A affiliate. As Schulman noted, Williamson revamped his swing in the 2017-18 offseason and was enjoying a hot start in 2018 before the concussion.
Post-injury, Williamson played in only 23 more games that season for the Giants and then 36 more games at Triple-A before his year was cut short by injury in mid-August. In 2019, Williamson appeared in 40 MLB games for the Giants and Mariners before heading to South Korea to play 40 games with the KBO League’s Samsung Lions. He inked a minor league deal with the Nationals during the offseason but was released in May.
The Giants released a statement addressing the lawsuit, saying “MLB and its clubs have a longstanding practice of addressing claims arising from player injuries through the collectively-bargained grievance procedure and the worker’s compensation system. Williamson’s claims are properly resolved through these processes, not through the courts.”