The Queens Born Pitcher Who Was Traded For Willie Mays: Charlie Williams (1971-1972)

Charles Prosek Williams was born October 11, 1947 and is one of the very few New York Mets players to have actually been born in Flushing Queens.

Long before there was a Shea Stadium, little Charlie Williams was throwing a baseball around the streets of Flushing, Queens.

He starred in both baseball & football at Great Neck High choosing to go with a baseball scholarship. He went off to Parsons College in Iowa, the college was named after the same Mr. Parsons that Parsons Blvd. in Flushing is named after.

He was one of the aces of the 1970 AA Memphis team that went to the Texas League championship. Williams was 12-5 with a 3.25 ERA, the other pitching star was Don Rose, also signed by the Mets. Rose was sent to the California Angels along with Nolan Ryan & Leroy Stanton for Jim Fregosi in 1972.

Williams made the Mets staff in 1971, debuting at Wrigley Field on April 23rd, allowing four runs in four innings in relief.

In June he got his first career win, a big one, in a five inning relief effort beating Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. It was a big deal because San Francisco Giant Juan Marichal had absolutely dominated the Mets through the previous years. That month Williams began to make starts & began with a 3-1 record, not allowing more than two runs on three different occasions.

The rest of the year wasn’t as good; he ended up out of the rotation and back in the bull pen. He had one more good start beating the 1970 World Champion Reds in the night cap of a September doubleheader, striking out eight batters. He finished the year with a 5-6 record and a 4.78 ERA in 31 appearances. He allowed seven HRs with 41 walks & 51 strike outs in 90 innings pitched.
After starting the 1972 season at AAA Tidewater, Williams became the answer to a great base ball trivia question. It was Williams (along with $50,000 in cash) the Mets gave to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

The Mets owner Joan Payson wanted Mays to end his playing career back in New York City, and then sign him on as a coach. At the time the Giants were struggling financially and couldn’t give Mays the kind of money the Mets could.

Williams pitched in San Francisco through 1978 mostly as a reliever going 18-14 with an ERA averaging in the lower three’s.

In 1975 he was 5-3 with three saves while posting a 3.49 ERA. The kid from Flushing only was a Met for one brief season but he once beat Juan Marichal, then the World Champion Big Red Machine, and was the guy traded for Willie Mays. 

In his eight year career he was 23-22 with a 3.97 ERA, striking out 257 batters with 275 walks in 573 innings pitched in 268 games.

Retirement & Passing: After baseball Williams briefly worked as a New Yok City taxi driver. He moved on to Florida, where he passed away in Daytona Beach in January of 2015. He suffered from complications after heart surgery & was 67 years old. He was survived by his three children.

Trivia: Williams always joked that the Giants traded Willie Mays for him, instead of vice versa. Even until the time of his death, he always received baseball cards from fans who wanted autographs.


A Charlie Williams Christmas said…
Actually,his 1971 CG win vs. Cincy was on Aug. 3. I should know : it was my first time at Shea. Nolan Ryan pitched Game 1 of this twi-niter,and wasn't bad despite losing. After '71,both would be traded for washed-up veterans. Before the AL NY team made the young-for-old practice famous, it was the brainstorm of Grant and Scheffing. With Charlie in relief, Ryan,Jim Bibby and even lefty Brent Strom starting, (I don't have enuff room for the eceteras) the late 1970's implosion would've been averted. Instead,we got the best ”coach” money could buy. That's right : What would've ever happened to Bruce Boisclair,Bob Gallagher.& Gil Flores minus the tutelage of Coach Mays?

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