Earl Williams learned to play catcher during his first year with the Braves and went on to win Rookie of the Year.
An infielder who learned to play catcher during his very first season in Major League Baseball has died at age 64.
Braves catcher Earl Williams died Jan. 28, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. Originally an infielder, Williams was thrust into duty as a catcher at the start of his baseball career.
The Ledger reported Williams, a native of Newark, N.J., died in his home in Somerset, N.J., surrounded by family.
According to the Ledger, Williams was diagnosed with acute leukemia last July.
Williams was an adaptable player from the start, playing first and third base for the Braves for 10 games in 1970, according to MLB.
The Braves soon called on him to become a catcher, though. According to MLB, Williams, then 22, stepped behind the plate with no experience as a catcher. He went on to hit 33 homers with 87 RBIs and win Rookie of the Rear.
Williams also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos and Oakland Athletics. During his two seasons in Baltimore, the Orioles won the American League East title both times, MLB said.
Williams left baseball at age 28 after playing for the Athletics in 1977, the Ledger reported.
According to the newspaper, Williams' love of sports began back in high school, when he was the star of his baseball and basketball teams at Montclair High School in Montclair, N.J.
MSN News on Facebook and Twitter
Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.
Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews