Errick Lynne Williams Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 215 lb.
- School University of Texas
- High School Patrick Henry High School
Ricky Williams is known primarily as a football player who won the Heisman Trophy, decided to return to school instead of getting big money right away, being traded for a team's entire year's worth of draft picks, being suspended numerous times for drug violations (openly advocating marijuana) and once taking off a year to meditate. In a career that spanned 1999-2011, Williams rushed for 10,009 yards in 11 seasons.
What is less known is that Williams spent four years as a professional baseball player. The Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the 8th round of the 1995 amateur draft. A shortstop in high school, he became an outfielder in the pro ranks. He hit .239/~.277/.248 for the 1995 Martinsville Phillies and stole 13 bases in 15 tries. In 1996, Ricky moved up to the class A Piedmont Boll Weevils and hit .188/~.239/.259 with a career-high 3 homers and 20 RBI. He struck out 87 times in 266 AB and was caught in 8 of 25 steal attempts. Teammate Jimmy Rollins later described him as "the fastest guy I ever laid eyes on".
In 1997, Williams returned to Piedmont and continued to see fairly regular time, hitting .206/~.255/.265 with 44 K in 136 at-bats (9 walks) and 10 steals in 14 tries. He finished up with the 1998 Batavia Muckdogs, hitting .283/~.309/.283 with 16 K, 2 BB, 6 SB in 9 tries and no extra-base hits in 13 games the year he won the Heisman Trophy with the University of Texas. His baseball career was over, but he was still selected in the 1998 Rule V draft by the Montreal Expos, who immediately traded him to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers could not convince him to pursue his baseball career, however.
Sources: 1996-1999 Baseball Almanacs
- Gemma Keneko: "Before Ricky Williams was a College Football Hall of Famer, he was a Phillies prospect", Cut 4, mlb.com, January 10, 2015.