Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 23, 1972 · Page 43
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 43

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 23, 1972
Page 43
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Page 43 article text (OCR)

^unday Ga^te-Mail Ctwrtorfofl. Wwt Vlrilnla "When they get on your back, keep your cool, brush off the plate and call for play to continue." That's how umpire Art Williams handles "situations" that come up from time to time on the baseball field. Fortunately, however, not many of these situations come up when Williams i s doing his thing. He is one of the best in the International League, and certainly the most ambitious. "I've come up the ladder pretty fast," he said here the other day. So fast, as a matter of fact, I'm a little bit overwhelmed." He was 38 last February and didn't get his start in the business until he was 35. "I asked my wife to give me five years in pro baseball and that if I didn't make it, I'd quit," he says. This is his fourth season * * * Wife, Family Root for Him "I must have the best wife a man ever had," he boasts. "We've got five kids back home and I know it's hard on her when I'm gone. But she never complains." Her name is Shirley. She's a nurse and her income, phis what Art is making in Triple A ball, is enough to keep the bills paid." Their children--Johnny, 17 ("who looks a lot like me"), Gail, Ifi, Pam, 15, Bryan, 9, and. .Scotty, ft-all understand their daddy's ambitions and root for him to reach his goal. "This is a lonely life--umpiring," Art says, "but I love baseball and hope that I can make it to the majors. It's worth all the time and effort you put into it if you feel you're making the proper advancement" . . . * * * Started as Pitcher Back in his home town of Bakersfield, Calif., the 6-2, 212-pounder, had ambitions to become a big league pitcher. But he developed early arm trouble had to quit after a couple of years in the low minors. "I was the first black man the Detroit Tigers ever signed back there in 1954," he recalled. "They at first sent me to Buffalo but I wound up at Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League. "I had' a pretty good year my first season but hurt my arm the next year at Stockton in the California State League. I quit playing after that. "I went back to Bakersfield and got a job with the city. I was making $8,000 a year and was working a lot of high school and college basketball games on the side" . . * * · * · ' Giant Scout Helps Him A scout for the Giants, Dick Wilson, saw him working a college baseball tourney in Bakersfield and suggested that he could make it as a pro umpire. "He told me I had the size and showed a lot of promise the way I called plays," Art declared. "T talked it over with my wife bat we had three kids and she asked me to wait until they grew up a little. "They grew np a little, but at the same time two more little boys came along and that kept me at home a little longer. "Finally in 3969, at the age of 35, I got my first job. I had attended Barney Deary's Umpire Development School and had impressed the people there. They got me a job in the Pioneer Rookie League in Idaho and Utah, which opened in June" , . . * * * His Rise Is Rapid From the Pioneer League, Williams moved to the Mid-West (Class A) in 1970 and made such an impressive showing that the National League bought his contract and assigned him on option to the Texas League. During the spring of 1971, he worked 21 big league exhibition games in Arizona and no other than Leo Durocher opened an eye inr Art's work. "Where've you been working?" Leo wanted to know. "Mid-West League," Art replied. "Mid-West?" Durocher questioned. "An umpire as good as you are working in the Mid- West? Can't believe it." From the Arizona Grapefruit League, Williams accepted the next big step in the Texas League (Class AA) and in five weeks he was assigned to the International League . . . Hustle Every Minute "John McSherry was called np to the majors at that'time," he explained "and that gave me my chance in the International." This meant more money and better living conditions for Art. So the family had no trou- ART WILLIAMS International League Umpire ble paying the bills back in Bakersfield. Now, in his first full season of Triple A, he says he is really learning the tricks of the trade. "I know that the first requirement of an umpire is the hustle," he says, "and he must gain the respect of the managers and players to make good. "When I go onto that field, it's all business with me," he added. "I try to put every ounce of energy I have into my work and I feel that my rewards will come later" * * Ik- He's No Showboat And, of course, they will come. An umpire as gifted as Williams just can't miss, although the game of umpiring has never attracted many black men. "There is one in the Florida State League and another in the Pacific Coast--that's my old partner from the Pioneer League, Harold Vann," he says. But Williams doesn't feel that the color of his skin makes one iota of difference in his chances of making it to the top where only one black man, Ed Ashford, has ever made the grade. "Ed was something of a showboat and I don't know whether that helped him or not, but that's not the way I go. f feel that an umpire who isn't noticed on the field is doing a a good job. And that's how I plan to work it --just hustle and keep my cool" * ~* * Family Fun At End of Year At the end of the baseball season, Art will go back to Bakersfield, as usual. He and his family will take a week or 10 days off to have good, clean fun and then he'll resume his work with the city. "I can pick up about S200 a week working basketball games," be says, "and that will keep the bills paid." If he isn't called up by the National League this season, he will still have a year to go on his pact with wife Shirley. But he's working real hard in hopes of getting that call next spring. "If I don't, I'll just keep right on hustling next year, waiting for that break to come my way," he pacifies himself. But the managers and players who have watched Art work won't be at all surprised If he goes up next year and, if not, by all means the year after that . . . * * * Keeps In Top Physical Trim Art's father is a Baptist minister in Bakersfield and he occasionally gets a call from either his dad, Rev. S. P. Williams, or his mother, Ruth. "They don't always know where to find me," he explains. "Our jumps are much more frequent than the teams, so we are on the road a lot." The league allows them a room and board allowances and gives them a travel card for airplane travel. "The tough thing is sitting around the hotel all day," Williams explains. True to the umpiring creed, they don't mingle with the players. This reduces their list of companions considerably. "I don't drink or run around," Williams says. "I try to keep in tip-top physical condition and watch my diet." So when the majors knock on his door, he'll be ready. And the class of umpiring in the big leagues will gain a good talent wfen they call on Art Williams . . . % $ See Charles E. King for "KING-SIZE" loans up to 10.000 Now you can buy the things you want and need. Now you can lump yoor old bills together and pay them off with a king-size loan--from us. A king-size loan can help cut the size of your monthly bill payments as much as 50%--to help save more of your pay check for yourself. ask for Charlie King... He's the Manager! NO APPLICATION FEE INDUSTRIAL SAVINGS LOAN CO. OF CHARLESTON OPEN EVENINGS BY APPOINTMENT 611 LEE ST. 343-4801 Pearson Is Favored in Dixie 500 HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) Stock car racing's hottest machine, the powerful Wood Brothers Mercury with veteran David Pearson in the driver's seat, is heavily favored to capture its seventh victory of the 1972 season today when 40 cars take the green flag for the 13th Dixie 500 at Atlanta International Raceway. The Spartanburg, S.C., driver will begin the 500-mile test over the 1.5-mile, high-banked asphalt oval from the pole position, which he nailed down in Thursday's qualifying with track record speed of 15U.353 mites per hour. "The way my luck is going right now, anything might happen," said Pearson, who has won four of six races he's entered in the Wood machine. The car was driven to two victories earlier in the season by A. J. Foyt of Houston, Tex. "I'm happy with the way things are going," Pearson said, "but I don't want to get hoggish about this." Won Firecracker 400 Pearson, who won the 1961 hap- Dixie event in a Pontiac, began his 1972 streak in the July 4th Firecracker 400 at Daytona Beach, where he nosed cut two other stock car driving aces, Richard Petty and Bobby Alli- son, at the finish. Petty, from Randleman, N.C., and Allison, from Huey town, Ala., rank among the top threats in today's race. Each has recorded five victories this year and Allison leads the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) money winning list with $133,000. Petty will open in the No. spot in today's Grand Nation. al race after qualifying his Dodge at 156.267 m.p.h. Petty, only million dollar winner in stock car racing history, will be gunning for his third straight Dixie 500 title, having won the last two in a Plymouth. Allison, winner of the Atlanta 500 here last March, was the third fastest qualifier, pushing 5 his Chevrolet around the track at 156.549. SAVE WARDS SMOOTH-RIDING DOUBLE BELTED 22-78 A tough 2-ply rayon cord body and two wide rayon belh give you a great combination for comfort, strength, and good mileage. The rayon cord body soaks up thumps and bumps for a quiet, smooth ride, while the belts stabilize the tread for long mileage and sure traction. A78-13 TBLS. BLK. PLUS 1.78F.E.T. EACH AND TRADE-IN TUBELESS BLACKWALL SIZE A78-13 1 E78-14 1 F78-U F78-15 j G78-U 1 G78-15 j H78-U | H78-U REPLACES SIZE 6.00-13 7.35-U 7.75-14 7.75-15 8.25-14 8.25-15 8.55-14 8.55.15 REGULAR PRICE EACH* $24 $28 $30 $33 $36' SALE PRICE EACH* 15.95 20.95 22.50 24.75 27.00 PLUS F.E.T. EACH 1.78 2.34 2.52 2.58 2.69 2.78 2.93 3.01 I 'With trade-in off your car. Whitewalls $3 more each. . OFFICIAL STATE INSPECTION STATION , / x No. 2902 FAST FREE MOUNTING! MECHANIC NOW ON DUTY-SUNDAY 1-5 PM MON. and FBI. NIGHTS TIL 9PM $ 4 TO *6 OFF WARDS ROAD HANDLER-GOOD MILEAGE AT GREAT PRICES A modern wide, low-profile tire with a strong 4-ply nylon cord body and hardworking tread for good mileage, traction. 25% OFF MONEY MAKER FOR VANS, PICK-UPS, CAMPERS Our finest all-wheel highway tire! Features a rugged nylon cord body with a triple rib tread design for great mileage. Sonic- engineered to cut fatiguing tread noise. Gives you more support for heavy loads than many passenger car tires. I I ' ' r / i ' I I I I I I · , , ' ' * ' * ' . . / TUBELESS BLACKWALL 1 SIZE | C78-13 E78-14f F78-14f G78-14f G78-15f H78-15f REPLACES SIZE 7.00-13 7.35-14 7.75-14 8.25-14 8.25-15 8.55-15 REGULAR PRICE EACH* 20.00 23.00 25.50 28.50 29.50 32.50 SALE PRICE EACH* 15.95 19.15 20.75 23.15 23.95 26.35 PLUS F.E.T. EACH 1.95 2.24 2.39 2.56 2.63 2.81 'With trade-in off your cor. f Whitewalls $3 more each. GROUP OF 400 DISCONTINUED TIRES % OFF 6.00x13-6.50x13-7.00x13 6.95x14-7.35x14-7.75x14 8.25x14-8.50x14-8.85x14 6.50x15-6.70x15-7.10x15 8.25x15-8.45x15-8.85x15 WhitAwolls available in seme sizes ($3mor»*ach) WVRDS 712 WASHINGTON ST. E., PHONE 343-7665; AUTO CENTER OPEN-- MON. AND FRI. 8:30-9; TUES.,WED.,THURS,. SAT. 8:30-5, SUN. 1 -5

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