General : : Press Release
Sunday, March 07, 2004

PG Player John Henry Williams Loses Battle with Leukemia

Perfect Game Staff        
Ted Williams son passes away at age 35

It was less than three years ago that we allowed a 32 year old man to participate in the Perfect Game National Showcase at Tropicana Field. The event was, and is, a Showcase for the most talented High School players in the country. We made this one exception because John Henry had never played professional baseball, and of course, because his father was the great hall-of-famer Ted Williams. Ted was the last MLB player to hit over .400 for a complete season.

We decided that it would be best for everyone concerned if we kept Ted’s son a mystery to everyone at the event and John Henry wanted it that way, too. The younger players knew something was odd and some guessed he was a movie star or something like that. 

John Henry was a good looking man with a very good baseball build. He was larger than his dad and obviously athletic. His peak-a-boo style of hitting brought back some great memories. A few of the younger guys joked around about it, but they probably never saw the hitters from the 40s and 50s. A Scouting Director asked us, “Who in the hell is that”? “I haven’t seen that kind of approach since the 50s”.

Since that time, John Henry did play very briefly in the minor leagues. Of course the story about his family duels over the death of his father were well documented. What we remember about John Henry is that he was a very interesting, fun type guy. He might have been a bit crazy, but he really thought he could play pro ball and wanted to prove it. He didn’t want someone to sign him only because of his fathers name, he hoped his talent alone would get him an opportunity. The Red Sox ended up giving him that chance and of course it was because of the name.

John Henry did not display MLB potential at the PG National. In fact, he looked out of place not only because of his age, but because the talent level of the Showcase was so high. That Showcase included 15 players who became first round picks and a large number of players who went in the first three rounds in the 2002 draft.

Most of those in attendance had no idea they were playing with or against the legendary Ted Williams son. Everyone enjoyed having him around and rumors started to spread… He’s a movie star… He’s a scout… He’s a former Major Leaguer, etc. Now nearly three years later, everyone knows the truth. He was John Henry Williams, the 32 year old son of Ted Williams.

No matter what anyone thinks of John Henry, we are so sorry to see him pass away at such a young age. It was a breath of fresh air watching a 32 year old man out-hustling 17 and 18 year old kids. No body tried harder that year in Tropicana Field. His father would have been proud of him! We are proud to have had Ted Williams’ son at our event. We are so happy that he did get a brief chance to play professional baseball. And we are very sad that he’s gone at such a young age. John Henry… Rest in Peace, we will miss you.
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