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The Legend, Henry Hank Williams. Whichever name you called him, it was okay with him. The Only 20 Game Winning Pitcher in Bahamian Baseball History, a feat accomplished in 1972.  

The Legend, The Pitcher:

Henry George Alexander Williams, Born: December 31, 1946.

Earlier, in 1965, at 18yrs old, Henry signed to play for the Astros; It was the start of his dream and a journey to playing MLB. Cocoa Astros was his first stop in the Florida State League. 

However, the Pirates traded for him in 66, where he did not disappoint them. In this case, he began to show them how good of a pitcher he was. In short, playing with the Pirates for two years, he recorded 91 strikeouts in 1966 and 82 in 67, both career numbers. 

Once again, he was traded, this time, to the Dodgers. In addition to going to the Dodgers, that move alone added to their local fan club. Henry played three seasons in that system, 2yrs in double & one in single-A. 

The Dodgers are coming:

It even got better for the local fans. 

The Legend Henry Hank Williams

LA Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox Souvenir Booklet

Coupled with good fan support for the game, MLB decided to host one of their spring games in the Bahamas. Yes! Nassau, Bahamas. On March 15th & 16th, 1969, The Los Angeles Dodgers vs. The Chicago White Sox at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center. Besides the Dodger Blue coming to town, a local star on the roster also;  The Legend, Henry Hank Williams on the roster; what a treat. 

What a Sunday treat for local baseball fans in Nassau, a spring training major league game, the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Chicago White Sox March 16th at the Sports Center; it was a full house.  

Then came the 9th inning:

From The Nassau Guardian and Bahamas Observer, Monday, March 17th, 1969:

Bahamian Henry Williams got a standing ovation from thousands of fans at the Sports Center Sunday when he made his way to the pitching mound to face the Chicago White Sox in the top of the ninth. 

Displaying a poise of confidence, the former local pitcher had his work cut out as he faced three left-handed hitters leading of the frame: the fleet-footed second baseman, Sandy Alomar, left-fielder Carlos May, and first sacker Gail Hopkins. Alomar, who had a single in three previous trips, grounded out weakly to the first baseman on a 2 & 2 count, May, followed and with a no-ball one strike count, he flew to right field. However, the Dodgers, 3-1 win over the White Sox came after Hank got Bill Melton, who had two doubles to his credit, popped up weakly to third baseman Jim Lefebvre the final out to end the game that gives Dodger Blue the win. 

The Legend, Henry Hank Williams

Sandy Alomar Touches the Bag at Second Base to get Dodgers Len Gabrielson # 14 and Flip the Ball to First Baseman Gail Hopkins to get Ron Fairly #6 for the Twin Killer

Pandemonium broke loose as fans rushed onto the field to lift their local hero shoulder-high back to the dugout; it marked the first time a local Bahamian pitcher had ever participated in a Major League Baseball game on Bahamian soil. (insert from the Nassau Guardian newspaper) 

The Legend, Henry Hank Williams:

The Legend, Henry Hank Williams

Together with, The 1969 Albuquerque Dodgers is Henry Williams. Photo from Albuquerque Dukes teams history.

Lastly, after going down to Single-A in 1970, where he finished the season with a 9 & 6 wins/loss record, he returned home. In summary, of his career in the minors after six seasons.  Including  33 & 35 records in 167 games whiles starting 41 of them. Two hundred forty-one runs, 96 earned in 578 innings. Also, 520 hits, 33 home runs, 203 walks, and 420 strikeouts.

Playing locally again:

After sitting out the year 1971, “amateur league rules for ex-pros.” He was allowed to pitch in the 1972 season in the BBA, picking up where he left off in the minors. Hence becoming the first and only 20 games winner in Bahamian baseball history that year, he also strikeout 115 hitters. However, he almost did it again in 73, this time with 15 wins and 109 Ks. In addition to the 20 wins, Henry won the best pitcher in 72, most wins, and strikeouts 72 & 73 back to back.

The Legend Henry Hank Williams record still stands to this day.

 

The Legend, Henry Hank Williams

Also, honoring Mr. Williams at Freedom Farm Baseball League, President Greg Burrows, Williams & his Daughter, and Ed Bethel & other family members.

The Legend, Henry Hank Williams

Henry throws out the First Pitch at the Freedom Farm 16 Division opener, November 2019.

Jeff Francis
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