Tuesday, May 7, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #25 MATT WILLIAMS


A STOIC SLUGGER.




MAJOR-LEAGUE MANAGER IN WAITING?


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Matt Williams, a prematurely balding third baseman who could scald the ball, will be remembered most for what might have been. That being the 1994 season and his record home run pace. Before another lumbering injury-prone slugger made his run at Roger Maris in '98, it was Williams taking aim by hitting 43 after 115 games, a 62.2 HR pace. Then the players went on strike on Aug. 12 and later the season was cancelled. In his 17-year career, Williams hit 378 homers and drove in 1,218.

DEFINING MOMENT STRETCH

  • Williams would get that record on May 17, 1995. Sort of. Williams hit 62 home runs over a 162-game stretch that began on Sept. 3, 1993. You could say Matty was certainly locked in at the plate during that span. You could also say he had some pharmaceutical help, too, like nearly every other record-breaking star during that era. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • Can't be any other than '94. In addition to the career-high homer output, Williams drove in 96 runs, hit .267 and had a .926 OPS. He was an All-Star, won the Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and finished second to #11 Jeff Bagwell in the NL MVP vote.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. The only player to hit a World Series home run for three different teams.
  2. Found his way onto the un-funny pages of The Mitchell Report for steroid use, and The San Francisco Chronicle also reported he once purchased $11,600 of human growth hormone, steroids and other PEDs.
  3. The unassuming five-time All-Star played in the shadow of other Giants stars: As a rookie in '87, #108 Will Clark was on the marquee; in '89 #136 Kevin Mitchell had his MVP season; in '93, #103 Barry Bonds and his La-Z-Boy chair sucked the oxygen out of the clubhouse. 
  4. Enjoyed his last All-Star season in '99 when with Arizona, hitting 35 dingers with a career-high 142 RBI and finishing third behind Chipper Jones and Bagwell in the NL MVP vote.
  5. Currently the Diamondbacks' third-base coach and was a finalist for the Rockies' managerial job this past off-season.

MATT WILLIAMS' 162-GAME STATS FROM 9/3/93-5/17/95


   G   PA    AB   R   H  2B 3B  HR RBI  BB IBB  SO SB CS  BA   OBP   SLG   OPS
  +---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+------+---+--+-----+---+
  162  691  636 109 178  24  5  62 143  47  8  118  1  0 .280 .329  .626  .955

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