Canberra baseball trailblazer Jeff Williams inducted into Hall of Fame

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“That was the ‘holy shit’ second. This was actually taking place, I might made it to this place. And that has caught with me. It was a reward for every little thing I might labored laborious for and everybody who had helped me.”

Williams will likely be inducted into the ACT Sport Corridor of Fame on the finish of November, recognised for his rise to turn into a Main League pitcher and a profitable stint on the Hanshin Tigers in Japan.

Contact participant Garry Lawless, working coach guru Dick Telford and rugby league referee and administrator Noel Bissett will even be inducted at a perform on November 30.

Williams can be a two-time Olympian and was instrumental in Australia’s silver-medal successful group on the Athens Olympic Video games in 2004.

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Williams, who grew up in Web page, performed most sports activities when he was at college. However he bought the baseball bug when one in every of his mates wished to begin enjoying.

“I used to be OK at each sport, however I used to be left-handed and will throw a ball fairly laborious. So baseball sort of caught,” Williams mentioned from his residence in Arizona. “I grew to find it irresistible fairly shortly.”

Williams was recruited to Southeastern Louisiana College in 1992, packing his luggage and waving goodbye to his mother and father to take an opportunity on baseball.

Even then Williams considered the sport as an opportunity to journey and get an training reasonably than seeing it as an opportunity to pursue a full-time profession.

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He shortly made a reputation for himself in the USA, picked within the NCAA division one All-American group after 125 strikeouts and 12 wins.

The Dodgers signed up as an undrafted free agent in 1996 and Williams was the younger gun in an Australian group on the Atlanta Olympics in the identical 12 months.

However the massive second got here in Athens eight years later when Australia was enjoying in opposition to Japan. Williams instructed the Australian group supervisor to place him within the recreation when it mattered most.

He led Australia to victory within the gold-medal qualifying match after which starred once more within the remaining, though Australia needed to accept silver.

Jeff Williams played for the LA Dodgers and the Hanshin Tigers.

Jeff Williams performed for the LA Dodgers and the Hanshin Tigers.Credit score:AP

“As a lot as making the Main Leagues was all of the laborious work paying off and was proving to myself that I may do it, that was the head,” Williams mentioned.

“However representing your nation at an Olympics, that is an entire different factor. There is no feeling that compares to that as a result of if you’re part of that, you may’t put it into phrases.

“The satisfaction you’re feeling is unbelievable, and I had it in two completely different waves. We had been novice in 1996 and it was an expertise.

“The second time round in Athens, we had been professional, we knew we had a great group. We had the blinders on of going to do what we will to win, and it was unbelievable. It provides me chills simply serious about it.”

Williams remains to be concerned in baseball as a scout for the Tigers, however has restricted his profession memorabilia to a few issues: a Dodgers jersey, a Tigers shirt and his Athens Olympics uniform with the silver medal.

“This [Hall of Fame] stuff is not my sort of factor. I wish to fly below the radar. Nevertheless it’s such an enormous honour to be inducted,” Williams mentioned. “It brings again the recollections, you do not actually admire [your career] till it is carried out.”

Chris Dutton is the sports activities editor at The Canberra Occasions.

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