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Thu, 02.12.1920

Marvin Williams, Baseball Player born

Marvin Williams

*Marvin Williams was born on this date in 1920. He was a Black baseball. Player. 

Williams grew up in Houston, Texas, and began playing semi-pro ball on sawmill towns of Texas such as Baytown and Conroe. In 1943, a group of players played on a barnstorming team that toured to various small towns to stage exhibition games. Williams impressed a Negro Baseball League scout during the tour that offered him a contract to play in the league.

Tex, as his teammates called him, debuted with the Philadelphia Stars club, playing for them from 1943 through 1945. In these three seasons, his batting average was .394, .365, and .325, respectively, in 248 games. In 1944, he played on the Negro leagues East squad at the East-West All-Star Game. Following his Negro league days, Williams was invited to Fenway Park for a Boston Red Sox tryout in 1945, on the recommendation of black sportswriter Wendell Smith. Invited with Williams were Sam Jethroe and Jackie Robinson. It was a token tryout; no contract; the Red Sox had no plans to integrate their roster.

Afterward, Williams landed in the summer Mexican League with the Diablos Rojos del México. Williams played winter ball with the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League in 1946 and 1947. He also played in Puerto Rico for the Leones de Ponce in two seasons between 1944 and 1949 and for the Pastora BBC in Venezuela in 1946. At the end of 1947, Williams played briefly in the Cuban League with the Leones del Habana club, batting .286 (12-for-42) with four RBI in 10 games. Williams returned to the Mexican League, then spent four winters in Mexico, playing from 1948 through 1951 with the Cañeros de Los Mochis of the Mexican Pacific League.

Williams returned to the United States; he divided playing time at Triple-A ball in the Pacific League and the Cleveland Buckeyes during the Negro league's waning days. His most productive season came in 1952, when he hit .401 with 45 homers and 131 RBI for the Chihuahua Dorados of the Arizona–Texas League. In addition, he was named the interim manager of the team during the midseason, becoming one of the first black managers in Minor League history. While in Canada, Williams, in 1954, led the Western International League with a .360 average. He later split 1955 between the South Atlantic League and the Pacific Coast League between the two stops.

That winter, he returned to Mexico and played for the Mayos de Navojoa, earning MVP Award honors. Williams played from 1956 through 1958 in the Texas League, en route to his second MVP Award. He competed with major leaguers Don Demeter, Jim Gentile, Albie Pearson, and Brooks Robinson. In 1959, Williams returned to the Texas League, where he was used strictly as a pinch hitter, going 2-for-5 in just five games.

For the last time in his native Texas, Williams played for the Rosebuds, Rio Grande Valley Giants, and San Antonio Missions in two seasons from 1960 to 1961. Overall, he posted a 279 average with 17 home runs in 1960 and hit 277 with ten homers and 71 RBI in 1961 before ending his Organized Baseball career at age 41. After retirement, Williams worked at Sears Roebuck for 20 years, the first ten at Virginia and the rest after being transferred to Conroe. In his spare time, he coached Little League Baseball teams. Williams was the father of two boys, Marvin Jr. and Billy, from Gloria Pacheco.

Marvin Williams died on December 23, 2000, at the age of 80, largely unnoticed in Conroe, where he and his family lived quietly much of their life.

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