The First Hawaiian Major Leaguer

Johnnie Williams baseball.jpg

Johnnie Williams in 1914 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The first Hawaiian Major Leaguer was Johnnie Williams.  Williams was born in 1889 in Honolulu; his father was British and his mother was Hawaiian.

Williams began his professional baseball career pitching for Sacramento Sacts in the Pacific Coast League in 1911. He made his Major League debut on April 20, 1914. Between April and August that year, Williams appeared in four games, pitching 11.1 innings with a 6.35 ERA. According to the Society of American Baseball Research, the main reason Williams played so few games with Detroit is that he had contracted Malaria during Spring Training in Gulfport, Mississippi.

In 1915, Williams returned to the PCL playing for the Los Angeles Angels and the Salt Lake City Bees. In 1916, he played for the St. Joseph Drummers of the Western League.

Williams joined the Hawaiian Infantry in 1917. Upon his return to Hawaii in 1919, he lead team of Hawaiian all-stars that traveled to Japan. Williams later played in the Hawaiian Baseball League.

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Month!

~ baseballrebecca