Mon Sep 05 01:29pm EDT
But here's the gist: When Williams played for the San Francisco Giants, the team mistakenly called him "Jeremy" for his first two seasons.
The notion sounds so absurd, I had to check and see if it was April Fool's Day and not Labor Day. Nope; the calendar checks out.
Not many outside the Giants clubhouse must have realized this faux pas, because Williams was always referred to, properly, by the team's TV and radio announcers. He was Jerome — classic pronunciation — Williams. Everybody knows this now, as he enjoys a career renaissance with the Angels. Heck, everybody knew it then. Everybody except, apparently, those inside the cocoon of Planet Giants.
Here's how "Jeremy" started:
What was the first time it happened?
"When I was in (minor league) camp, I went over (to big league camp) to play in a game, and I think it was Felix Rodriguez [who] called me Jeremy. And that was it."
Is that just what it's like to be a rookie?
"You have no control sometimes. Sometimes you have no control, and you can't do nothing. If I told them they would have yelled at me! I was just a normal young kid being afraid. So I didn't say nothing for a couple years. My name was spelled like Jeriome Robertson's [a pitcher on the Astros]. He had an I in it and I didn't but they looked the same."
Good grief! Yeah, they looked the same all right, except for that "I." Williams also speculated that, because he was born in Honolulu, his Hawaiian side influenced people into thinking "Jerome" was pronounced with fancy Polynesian linguistics. Hawaii is a good reason to wear puka shells, but not for transforming "Jerome."
The part about Williams coming clean to coach Dave Righetti after two years is unforgettably hysterical:
"I just told Righetti one day. I'm doing a bucket, and I'm like Rags, we need to talk about something. He's like, 'What?' Ummmm. What's my name? He's like, 'Jeremy.' Ummmm. No. It's not, actually. It's actually Jerome. He's like, 'so for a couple years I've been calling you Jeremy and it's not even your name? Why didn't you correct me?' I told him the same: I was scared. 'What were you scared about?' I don't know. And he slapped me."
That's the best anecdote of the baseball season, hands down.
Big BLS h/t: Larry Brown Sports