Man, that Matt Williams sure did have some curly flowing hair and a sweet 1980s beard and mustache in his younger playing days, huh?
I mean, just look at how the slugger lined up on on his 1983 TCMA Syracuse Chiefs card:
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What’s that you say? That’s not Matt Williams the slugger?
That’s Matt Williams the pitcher, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1980 out of rice, but stayed in school … and then was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round in 1981.
Yes, definitely that Matt Williams.
Still, that Matt Williams was doing his best Bruce Sutter impression on this baseball card, don’t you think?
I mean, sure, the beard could have used a touch more fire, and it’s all a bit curlier, but otherwise … Sutter-ific!
Not so much on the mound, where Williams was used exclusively as a starter (and produced so-so results) until his August 1984 call-up with the Jays.
In Toronto, he made four starts and one relief appearance, all good for a 14.63 ERA in eight innings. That got him sent back to the minors, then traded late in 1985 to the Texas Rangers, who brought him up for six games.
Though he pitched to a 2.42 ERA for Texas, Williams was back in the bushes in 1986, and then out of baseball at 26.
He had that cool Bruce Sutter card to fall back on, though, as well as a few other nifty minor league issues. And he also warmed up the name for what was to come.
Because, while Matt Williams was winding out his career in 1986, Matt Williams was just starting his tenure in the San Francisco Giants minor league system. That Matt Williams would be crushing Big League baseballs within two seasons.
And then, when slugger Matt Williams was turning the corner on his own MLB career in 2000, reliever Matt Williams — that other other one — logged eleven appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers, his only Big League action.
Baseball always seems to cycle back around, huh?
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