June 5, 2005


Clyde Williams Sr.: Played baseball in Negro League

posted June 10, 2005


Even thoughWilliams, Clyde - Lefty played professional baseball for five years in the Negro League in the 1940s and '50s, it's the peanuts that his kids remember.

"He loved the peanuts at Tiger Stadium," said Mr. Williams' daughter Gwendolyn Rogers. "We just about lived at Tiger Stadium."

Mr. Williams, a devoted husband and father, died Sunday. He was 85 and lived in Detroit. He was born on April 9, 1920, in Coahoma, Miss. A World War II veteran, Mr. Williams was a military police officer and expert marksman.

"That's probably why he played ball so well," Rogers said.

He was a left-handed pitcher and batter and was on the Cleveland Buckeyes when they won the Negro American League championship in 1947. Mr. Williams pitched two winning games during that series. He also played with the Detroit Motor City Giants in 1951-52.

He stayed in Detroit for the rest of his life and told his kids that he never wanted to return to Mississippi. Mr. Williams married Elizabeth Williams in 1949. She preceded him in death 20 years ago. He worked as a laborer with the Barton Malow Co., a construction firm, until his retirement.

"He was the best father you could have," Rogers said.

Mr. Williams was known for his gift of gab, his easy jokes and for teaching life lessons to his six children. He bought four homes in his east-side Detroit neighborhood to make sure his family could be close. Two children still live on the same block.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Williams is survived by two more daughters, Claudette Leake and Betty Stephenson; two sons, Clyde Jr. and Leon; a niece, Ruth Robinson; 16 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. A daughter, Brenda Williams, preceded him in death.

Visitation will be at 10 a.m. today followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. at the Cantrell Funeral Home, 10400 Mack Ave. in Detroit. Burial will be at the Detroit Memorial Park East in Warren.