Gregory Scott "Woody" Williams (born August 19, 1966) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, and Houston Astros.
|Born: August 19, 1966|
|May 14, 1993, for the Toronto Blue Jays|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 22, 2007, for the Houston Astros|
|Earned run average||4.19|
|Career highlights and awards|
Williams, a Cy-Fair High School graduate and University of Houston alumnus, began his career pitching in relief until he was moved to a full-time starter in 1997. On December 12, 1998, he was traded to the San Diego Padres with minor leaguer Peter Tucci and Carlos Almanzar for right-handed pitcher Joey Hamilton. He worked exclusively as a starter in San Diego until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Ray Lankford on August 2, 2001.
After he was traded, Williams' career took off. While in San Diego that season, he posted an 8–8 win–loss record with a 4.97 ERA in 23 starts, but with St. Louis, Williams went 7–1 with a 2.28 ERA in 11 starts.
On August 10, 2003, Williams hit into an unassisted triple play against the Atlanta Braves. As a result, Atlanta's shortstop Rafael Furcal became the 12th player in Major League history to make one of the rarest plays in baseball, while Williams was the first big league pitcher to ever hit into an unassisted triple play. He continued to pitch well for St. Louis, making the 2003 All-Star Game and starting Game 1 of the 2004 World Series.
After a career-worst 2007 season with Houston, where he went 8–15 with a 5.27 ERA, and a poor showing during the 2008 spring training, Williams was released by the Astros on March 29 and subsequently retired.
Williams used an assortment of different pitches against opposing batters. He used a cut fastball which he could throw between 89–92 mph, which was considered his best pitch overall. He relied on his curveball as his strikeout pitch, and utilized a straight change as well. Williams was also known to throw an occasional knuckleball in games.
Woody is active in the Alvin, Texas community. In 2002, he donated money to the Alvin High School athletic program to help buy new equipment. He also trained with the Alvin High baseball team before heading off to spring training.
He has five children. Katelyn, Sarah, Hannah, Caden, and Lillian and currently resides in Houston with them and his wife. His cousin Chase Ortiz was a defensive end for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Williams began coaching varsity baseball at Fort Bend Baptist Academy in 2009, and led the team to the Texas Class 4A semifinals in both 2010 and 2011.
- Furcal turns 12th unassisted triple play ever. ESPN. Retrieved on January 26, 2017.
- Unassisted Triple Plays in the Major Leagues. Baseball Reference Bullpen. Retrieved on January 26, 2017.
- De Jesus Ortiz, Jose (November 24, 2006). "Astros agree to terms with Lee, Williams". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- Perry, Dayn (Aug 21, 2017). "Twins' Bartolo Colon becomes the 18th pitcher in history to beat all 30 MLB teams". Retrieved January 18, 2019.
- Smith, Cameron (2011-05-27). "Craig Biggio leads team to two straight state titles". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2019-01-18.