Open main menu

Charles Herman Williams (December 20, 1943 – September 10, 2005) was an American baseball umpire who officiated in the National League from 1978 to 1999, and in both leagues in 2000. In 1993 he became the first African American umpire to work behind home plate in a World Series game. He wore uniform number 25.

Williams was born in Denver, Colorado, attended George Washington High School, and became an All-America football player at Long Beach City College, later attending California State University, Los Angeles.

In his rookie season, Williams umpired third base for Tom Seaver's only no-hitter on June 16, 1978.[1]

Williams was the only umpire to eject Steve Garvey from a game, which occurred during the 1986 season and received media coverage for the incident.

Williams was the first base umpire in a 1990 game between the Mets and Braves, when he was involved in a well-known incident. With two Braves' on base, Met pitcher David Cone induced a chopper from Mark Lemke, fielded by Gregg Jefferies, who threw to Cone at first base. Williams mistakenly ruled Lemke safe. Cone argued vociferously with Williams while still holding the ball (Cone thought time had been called), and both Braves' runners scored while Cone was distracted.[2]

Williams was the home plate umpire for the longest game in World Series history, Game 4 of the 1993 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, which lasted 4 hours and 14 minutes and ended with a 15–14 Toronto victory and a 3–1 Series lead for the Blue Jays.

He was the first base umpire on June 3, 1995 when Pedro Martínez pitched 9 perfect innings before giving up a hit in the 10th.

In 1999, he was shoved by Mets third base coach Cookie Rojas after Rojas had argued a foul ball that clearly, on replay, was a foul ball by inches. Rojas was suspended for five games.[3]

He also worked the All-Star games in 1985 and 1995, the 1989 National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs, the 1997 NLCS between the Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves, and the 1999 National League Division Series. He ejected San Diego Padres first baseman Steve Garvey from a June, 1986 game between the Padres and the Atlanta Braves, the only ejection of Garvey's career, then ejected Padres manager Steve Boros the next day when Boros tried to present a videotape of the call Williams ejected Garvey over. He was also an umpire on September 28, 1988 when Orel Hershiser set the Major League record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched.[4] He remained an umpire until his retirement in 2000 due to health problems, and died at age 61 in Chicago, Illinois after a long illness related to diabetes and kidney failure.

Personal lifeEdit

Williams was the uncle of former Major League catcher Lenny Webster.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Charlie Williams". 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mets' Rojas Suspended For 5". CBS News. AP. October 11, 1999.
  4. ^ The Official Major League Baseball Fact Book 2002. The Sporting News. 2002. p. 502. ISBN 0-89204-670-8.