After taking a few days off myself, I realized today that a few years away from where I want to be would not be easy to deal with. But that’s what now 29 years young Jerome Williams was feeling when he finally made his first big league start in 4 years and earned his first win in ‘The Bigs’ since 2005 after allowing just one run on six hits while striking out six in seven innings as his Angels completed a three-game sweep of the lowly Orioles with a 7-1 rout.
Williams was drafted in the first round by the Giants in 1999 (39th overall) and after stints in San Francisco, Chicago’s Cubs, and Washington Nationals, he’s been toiling in the minors (and in Taiwan last year) getting as low as the Long Beach Armada of the independent
Golden Baseball League before the Dodgers signed him to a minor league deal in June, 2008. But Jerome never did see Dodger Stadium or any other MLB ballpark until today when the Angels called him up from triple-A Salt Lake where he’d been pitching very well of late and the Halos needed his arm to help their overly-used staff during this tough stretch of games.
It was great to see Williams smiling in front of his locker after this huge comeback win with his 5 year old son (who was squeezing a baseball like he was getting ready to warm up in the bullpen himself) alongside enjoying his Dad being enveloped by the hoard of local media wanting his take on this feel-good story.
Jerome has an array of pitches that could only be surpassed by his personal mix of nationalities which includes Hawaiian-Chinese-Portuguese-Spanish-Japanese-Norwegian-African-Filipino and American…and it certainly turned out to be an Aloha Sunday at Angels Stadium for the Hawaiian born righthander, who if he never won another big league game has one great story to tell his 3 kids when they’re all old enough to appreciate the road traveled by their never-give-up father.
Oh and by the way, thanks to Williams and the Angels win combined with the Rangers embarrassing 10-0 loss to the White Sox today, the Halos are now just 4 games back of Texas when they looked dead and buried just 4 days ago just before rookie Mark Trumbo saved their asses with a walk-off come-from-behind homer against the Rangers. And now the next big question is will Jerome get a shot to start in Texas next weekend against a real major league lineup compared to the wing-clipped Baltimore Birds??????
Jerome Williams with Ted Sobel:
Angels manager Mike Scioscia on Williams big comeback win:
Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher with Ted Sobel: