Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ronald Keith Williamson Baseball Player 1972-1973 Stats and Photo

Ronald Keith Williamson
Bats Left, Throws Right
High School Asher High School
Born February 3, 1953 in Ada, OK USA
Died December 4, 2004 near Tulsa, OK USA
Catcher Ronald Williamson was the 41st pick in the 1971 amateur draft, a second-round selection by the Oakland Athletics.

He spent the 1972 season primarily with the Coos Bay-North Bend A's, hitting .265/~.341/.361 in 52 games.

His 23 passed balls in 46 games behind the plate tied for the lead in the Northwest League.

He also briefly was with the Burlington Bees, going 1 for 8 with four strikeouts in 7 games.

In 1973, Ronald had a rotten year, hitting .137/~.247/.153 for the Key West Conchs with only 13 runs produced in 59 games.

He fielded .947, the worst of any Florida State League catcher to play 15 or more games, and had 16 passed balls in 41 outings.

He went 1 for 3 with two walks with Burlington.
Williamson's life went into a tailspin after that.

Ron Williamson became a drug and alcohol addict and suffered from mental illness. In 1982, Debra Sue Carter, a waitress in a bar he often went to, was found dead. Williamson was cited as a suspect by the police five years later on flimsy testimony but was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1988.
After 11 years on death row, Williamson was cleared by DNA testing, and was finally freed from possible execution.
Ron Williamson died in a nursing home of cirrhosis five years after being freed. Author John Grisham read his obituary in The New York Times and made him the subject of his first non-fiction book, The Innocent Man, published in 2006.
Sources: 1972-1973 Baseball Guides, book reviews of The Innocent Man.

Newspaper Press Release from 1971
OAKLAND SIGNS RON WILLIAMSON Ron Williamson, former Asher and Byng baseball player, signed a bonus contract over the weekend with the Oakland Athletics. George Bradley, scouting supervisor for the Athletics, said Williamson signed for a "substantial bonus," but no terms were disclosed. He will probably be assigned to Coos Bay, Oregon temporarily. Williamson led Asher to two straight state titles after transferring from Byng. He was an all-stater this year and the Number 2 draft choice of the Athletics. End
Ronald Williamson's co-defendant, Dennis Fritz was convicted after a swift trail. The vote from a single juror saved him from the death penalty, and he was sentenced to life behind bars.
You can read Dennis Fritz's story in his new book "Journey Toward Justice". The companion book to The Innocent Man .


MelissaQ said...

WOW, that does sound like a compelling story. It is so sad when an innocent person get wrongly accused, and the guilty are free to walk the streets among us.
Nice Blog, thank you for coming by mine to visit. I hope to see you around more often. :)

Wendy said...

I just finished reading Dennis Fritz's book, "Journey Toward Justice" - what a heart
breaking story!!!
Dennis,your courage during your days in prison was inspirational. Would love to read more about your friendship with Ron Williamson, maybe in your next book !?

Marie said...

I just finished reading John Grisham's "The Innocent Man," and having just now learned of Dennis Fritz's "Journey toward Justice," I'm looking forward to that being my next read.
I would love to read what Dennis Fritz has to bring to this story from his perspective and to, possibly, see his views being included in a movie made from Grisham's book?
I don't know anything for sure, but I've read that George Clooney bought the rights to produce this project, and if so, I can't wait to see it! I thought Grisham's book was compelling.
I was shocked at the nasty back-door dealing going on among the cops and prosecutors. The fact that they stole 12 years from two men's lives for a crime they did not commit infuriated me.
And poor Ron.
He was such a mess that it totally ruined his life.
I developed enormous respect and a bit of awe for Dennis Fritz, who was strong enough to piece his life back together and get back to his family and priorities. I was also impressed at his intelligence.
And amazed that he never gave up.
I hope he lives a life full of all the prosperity and happiness he deserves. He is quite an inspiration to me.
Deborah Carter was murded the year I was born...
I am now 25 years old, and glad that this story has again been brought to life, among many reasons, to reveal the deceit and scandral behind the merciless treatment of these two men and prevent such snitching from leaking into our judicial system in the future.
Unfortunately, our legal system may not always serve justice. But, Dennis Fritz, men like you truly do. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I just finished "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham. It really educated me on how things can go so wrong in a "just" system. I am saddened for the Williamson family because they lost Ron before he got a chance to really live. I am so glad that Dennis's daughter was able to hear the truth in her fathers lifetime. What an eye opener!

beth said...

just finished "The Innocent Man". A heart renching, tragic store of how the legal system ruined the lives of so many. Ron's sisters/family stood by him when others might have left. A lot of love in that family. Happy for Dennis, unfortunate Ron did not have more time to enjoy his long overdue freedom. Thank god for DNA

Gabriela said...

Dear Mr. Fritz,

I just finished reading The Innocent Man by John Grisham - literally just finished minutes ago - and I couldn't help but cried because of your and Ron's story. Specially Ron because he was a lost soul and couldn't live enough to enjoy what he deserved, in spite of his mental problems. You were able to keep going - sane and very much alive - and I feel very happy for you.
I'm not American although lived in the States for many years but I - like many others - wasn't aware of your fight, your agonizing years in jail because of an unfair trial that seem to plague the American legal system.
I was so moved by the book that I had to write to you. I hope this email finds you well and I will definitely will look for your book Journey towards Justice.
God Bless You.
PS: Thank you Barbara for your page.

Alison said...

I too have just finished reading "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham. The book was passed along to me by a friend and colleague, a defense attorney, who I work closely with on appeals. She knew I would appreciate its value. I am honestly appalled, astounded and extremely saddened by what these men had/have gone through. Many lives were affected and ruined. Every time I think of what Ron went through mentally and physically, it truly breaks my heart. And, he was never able to fully get passed everything that happened to him in his life and that makes this more of a tragedy.

Mr. Fritz, I commend you on your courage, strength and tenacity to see yourself through this ordeal. I wish you all the best in your life and know that more than most, you truly know what it is like to fight for your freedom, succeed and savor each and every moment.

May God Bless all those involved in fighting for the freedom of these men. You truly are heros.

Anonymous said...

i just read "The Innocent Man" and as an aspiring lawyer i was moved. It really makes you think hard about our justice system and the way we treat inmates, innocent or not. I was pro-life before but after that book i am 101% against the death penalty. After all, an eye for an eye makes the world blind.

Michelle said...

I just finished reading the innocent man and it was so shocking, sad and moving. I was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 34 and I can relate to some of the things Ron has been thru.... the same religion and the drugs, alcohol, abuse and not to mention the mood swings,paronoid feeling and it scares me to death. I hope this opens ppls eyes to the way the world preceives someone with a mental illness. The world sometimes choses to ignore the obvious and say that it is not what it but.... Sometimes it is. It's not the easiest thing in the world to have ppl understand and to get treated. I have done the same things with trying to cope with my illness. I have cried numerous times while reading about all of you and it breaks my heart that ppl can be so callous and vindictive. I lost my husband due what I have thought but was shied away from was mental illness and the liver finally killing due to the lifesytle he chose. It was hard for me to look at the pics of Ron cause before i even read what he died from i knew. May God bless you and everyone around you. May you continue to spread the word about all of the injustices no matter how big or small our system has.

Thank you for your time

PS. Congrats on the family and being a grandfather hopefully meaning more times over.

atreyarocks said...

I just finished reading "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham. I am really happy that Dennis Fritz is out and so was Ron Williamson. Dennis, i have to yet read your book, which i will sure do in due course of time. A salute to you for your spirit, intelligence and hardwork during those gruelling days in prison. You are a true inspiration for anyone to rise above the circumstances around them.

Anonymous said...

I have just finished reading John Grisham's book, "The Innocent Man". I am gobsmacked that these two men could have been put through such horrible torment. So much for American Justice being the best. where was the justice for Ron and Dennis. Ron Williamson would probly be alive today if not for this totall miscarriage of justice. Well done Mark Barrett and team for believeing in your self enough to do the right thing.

Mark said...

I have just finished reading "The Innocent Man". Once i started i just had to finish but found myself screaming inside at the gross negligence from so many 'professionals'.

To be so helpless and in such a dark place i can never imagine - to be freed from it must be a feeling i hope never to endure. Although i realise people in this situation are never freed from such life debilitating memories.

I sincerely hope these books are read and absorbed into peoples minds so as to raise awareness of such events which are undoubtedly taking place more often than we'd like to think.

I hope certain people's reputations and credibility are ruined by this, although more harsh and legal steps would be more welcoming.

Thank you for giving me perspective of my own life.

Mark R - UK

linda said...

Like so many others here I too just finished reading "An Innocent Man" what a truly amazing and fascinating story. I thought this stuff only happened on television. Valuable lives wasted and precious years that can never be regained. Dennis you are a true hero for enduring and surviving this herrendous experience. Im looking forward to reading your book. Best wishes

LIFE FORCE by Anna K said...

Just read Journey Toward Justice, by Dennis Fritz and wanted to know more about Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, your blog has a lot of great information. The book was heartbreaking, but a wonderful ending.

Anonymous said...

i to was wrongly accused of a crime and sent to prison i know how it feels. the courage you two had is remarkable. the injustice of small towns is relentless. i come from utah.may god bless you all and the people who beleived in you and dna.john grisham, dennis fritz and the late ron williamson. may the higher power be with you all god bless.robb

Anonymous said...

I too just finished "The Innocent Man". I cried. What an awful story with an ending that came far too late. I am glad Dennis that you are doing well. God Bless.