No Neck Williams Passes on Jan. 23, 2016

Walt "No Neck" Williams

Walt “No Neck” Williams

Walt “No Neck” Williams, the stubby looking little outfielder from Brownwood, Texas who signed as a 20-year old free agent with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963 has died. According to his wife, Ester, Williams passed away of a heart attack on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at age 72 in Abilene.

Williams broke into the majors on April 21, 1964 with the Colt .45s as a late inning defensive replacement for Jim Beauchamp in a 10-5 home loss at Colt Stadium to the Cincinnati Reds. He had no plate appearances that day and he would have to wait another three years for his first MLB hit after going 0 for 9 in 10 games for the ’64 Houston club. That first hit would come for the Chicago White Sox (1967-72). After 6 seasons with the Pale Hose, 1 year with the Cleveland Indians (1973), and 2 final seasons with the New York Yankees (1974-75).

Walt Williams finished his MLB career with a BA of .270 and 33 HR. His best season was 1969, when he hit .304 in 135 games for the White Sox. He never hit for power or had enough speed to steal many bases, but he was a steady player and good enough to last ten seasons in the big leagues – and that’s far better than most aspiring baseball players ever achieve.

In an article by Bobbie Dittmeier of explains how Williams got his “No Neck” nickname: “The nickname ‘No Neck’ was hung on the muscular 5-foot-6 Walt Williams because of his physical appearance. A typhus injection he received in his neck when he was very young, following a flood in Brownwood, caused his neck to shrink.”

Hard to fathom? Here’s a link to the source article, which also contains a short summary of Williams’ after life in baseball following his release from the Yankees as a player in January 1976:

Rest in Peace, Walt Williams! Your passing at age 72 is another sad reminder of how time flies, but your early fans in Houston still remember you. It’s kind of hard to forget a guy who both owns and looks like he deserves the nickname of “No Neck.” Also, if you get a chance to play again in whatever realm of afterlife existence you now find yourself, get a hit for Houston. You owe us one.





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3 Responses to “No Neck Williams Passes on Jan. 23, 2016”

  1. gregclucas Says:

    During the time Williams was with the White Sox they had a number of players built like him. Short, stocky and muscular…or just short.

  2. Dick "Lefty" O'Neal Says:

    I had the privilege to be at an autograph session in San Angelo with No Neck, Fergie Jenkins and a small group of fellow Negro League players. In between signing stuff we had a lot of fun talking about baseball in the sixties. He was really interested in learning more about the Negro Leagues I played in the early 70s.
    Rest in peace to a baseball friend and one who loved the game.
    Dick “Lefty” O’Neal

  3. Cliff Blau Says:

    I enjoyed watching him when he was on the Yankees. He always played hard.

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