My Contribution: I popularized baseball among the African American community by playing in the national baseball Negro League with the first All-Black Baseball team, the Cuban Giants. I pushed boundaries by playing for what were termed “All-White” teams in the Major League. In Harrisburg, I was the first Black to play for Harrisburg on City Island.
My Legacy: I changed both local and national baseball with my activism as a Black athlete. With the end of segregation and the subsequent integration of major league baseball, my bold strides forward helped to develop baseball into a more equitable sport.
About Me: “While this plucky catcher is fast nearing the half century mark in age, he says he is good for ten years and will continue to play ball until he has to quit. At one time Clarence was on the police force but did not remain long as his love for the National game was stronger than political influences.” — Harrisburg Telegraph, October 4, 1904.
“A number of years ago Williams was a professional baseball player and was catcher at various times with the Harrisburg Grays, The Cu- ban Ex-Giants, of New York City, and the Philadelphia Giants.” — The Evening News, September 28, 1934.
Full Name: Clarence E. William. Nickname: Waxey
Birth Date: January 27, 1866
Death Date: September 23, 1934 in Atlantic City, New Jersey (buried in Atlantic City Cemetery)
Place of Birth: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Race: Black (1900-1920 Federal Censuses) and “Negro” (1930 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 1331 Wyeth Avenue (1900), 661 Sayford Avenue (1910-1930), 335 Calder Street, and 1328 Fulton Street
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Lived three blocks north of Eighth Ward; played baseball with many Eighth Warders.
Family Members: Siblings: Newton Williams, Robert Williams, Mrs. Lillie Williams Crummel, and Mrs. Eliza Williams Alexander. Wife: Helen (Harris) Williams, b. April 1876, m. April 2, 1891. Children: Mary E. Williams Fountain (b. 1892), Clarence Williams (b. 1894), William A. Williams (b. 1898), Helen Williams (b. 1901), Edith M. Williams (b. 1904), Ethel Williams Blackwell (b. 1908), and Hilda Williams Felton (b. ca. 1914)
Occupations: Policeman sometime before his baseball career began in 1887. Baseball Player (1887-1913). Father
Connections: Colonel Strothers (baseball), William C. Williams (father).