A pitching journeyman, Waipahu’s Jerome Williams is back in the big leagues, and in a pennant race. Williams’ new team, the California Angels, is in a divisional playoff hunt heading down the final stretch of the 2011 season, and he is ecstatic to be a part of the big league excitement again.
“My first game back in the big leagues was surreal because I didn’t know if I would ever be at that point again. Pitching for a major league team, especially one that is fighting for the division, it was crazy. I was nervous, I felt like a rookie again standing up there, seeing that many people watching me,” he says.
Williams who was on MidWeek‘s cover Sept. 24, 2003 was off to a promising future when he made his first major league start for the San Francisco Giants in 2003. But after being released from the Washington Nationals in 2007, Williams began a tumultuous parade virtually around the world searching for those pitches that would eventually land him back in MLB. In 2008 he played for the Long Beach Armada in the independent Golden League, spent winters playing in Puerto Rico, and last season in Taiwan.
“I was really thinking of quitting, just going from that extreme high of starting in the majors to the extreme low, but my family had an influence on me continuing my dream, and I am glad they did,” says Williams.
After spending last winter playing in Mexico, the Angels took a chance on Williams, and so far it has been working out well for both.
“Some of the guys like Torii Hunter and Howard Kendrick I knew from when I played against them before,” he says. “The first few days I was quiet, didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but after that first start and win the comfort level and chemistry got a lot easier.”
Since starting for the Angels, Williams is 3-0, including pitching an eight-inning one-hit win over the Seattle Mariners Sept. 7, using his pink glove in honor of his mother, who died from breast cancer in 2001.
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