Gerald Williams helped the New York Yankees lay the framework for one of the sport’s most recent dynasties.
Williams played seven seasons across two stints with the Yankees, watching the likes of young prospects Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera mark their territory in the majors. Over 15 years after his final MLB game, Williams has followed Jeter into the sports business world.
But unlike Jeter, who co-owns the Miami Marlins, Williams left baseball behind for another sport.
Gerald Williams played 14 MLB seasons
A 14th-round pick of the New York Yankees in 1989, Gerald Williams took his first big-league plate appearance in September 1992.
Nicknamed “Ice,” Williams gradually earned more playing time and became a versatile outfielder for the Yankees in the mid-1990s. However, the Yankees traded Williams to the Brewers in August 1996, a trade that brought Australian reliever Graeme Lloyd to the Bronx.
Williams bounced around for the next few years and shined in two seasons with the Atlanta Braves from 1998-99. The veteran outfielder hit .286 with 27 home runs, 112 RBIs, and 47 doubles across 272 games.
Williams faced his old Yankees teammates in the 1999 World Series. Chad Curtis and the Yankees swept Atlanta in four games, giving Williams’ former team three titles in four years.
Williams briefly returned to the New York Yankees in 2001, hitting .170 with two RBIs across 38 games. He remained active in the majors until he took his final at-bat for the New York Mets in 2005.
Williams earned nearly $12 million in the majors
Gerald Williams retired with a .255 average, 85 home runs, 365 RBIs, and 183 doubles in 1,168 games across 14 seasons.
Williams played for two teams — the 1996 Yankees and the 2003 Marlins — that eventually won the World Series. The Yankees traded Williams late in the 1996 season, however.
According to Baseball-Reference, Williams made $11.7 million in the majors.
Gerald Williams is the Tampa Bay Titans’ general manager
Gerald Williams is far from the first professional athlete to pursue a career as a sports executive.
Williams is an interesting situation, though, as the general manager of a professional basketball team. The athletes who make the crossover between different sports often purchase ownership stakes or form their own teams, like what NBA legend Michael Jordan did with 23XI Racing in NASCAR.
Williams, who turns 55 in August, is the general manager of the Tampa Bay Titans, a minor league team based in Tampa, Fla. Williams is familiar with the area, having parts of two seasons with the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 2000-01.
In an interview earlier this year with The New York Times, Williams explained how he views his role as more than simply deciding who to sign.
“I’m that guy who makes sure they understand there is no tomorrow. They can’t afford to say, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we’ll get ’em tomorrow.’ Tomorrow? What are you talking about? You’re going to get cut today!”
Of course, the Tampa Bay Titans are no longer the only game in town. The Toronto Raptors are playing the 2020-21 NBA season in Tampa amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and border restrictions.
The Titans are expected to open their 2021 season in April.