Jerome Williams, Hawaii'sBy Pat Bigold
highest-drafted ever, signs with
the San Francisco Giants
Waipahu's Jerome Williams, the highest drafted baseball player ever from Hawaii, signed this morning with the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco, according to Giants assistant general manager Ned Colletti.
The bonus money to which he agreed is the most ever given a local baseball player.
Williams, who was taken 39th overall by the Giants on June 2, will proceed directly to San Francisco's Class "A" affiliate, Salem-Keizer (Oregon), in the short-season Northwest League.
Although neither Colletti nor the Williams family would reveal a dollar amount for the bonus, a source in San Francisco told the Star-Bulletin that the 6-foot-3, 187-pound right-hander signed for a figure in the low $800,000 range.
The family's San Diego-based advisor, Reggie Waller, could not be reached.
The bonus represents a substantial increase over what San Francisco's 38th pick in the 1998 draft received. Chris Jones, a left-handed prep pitcher from North Carolina, received a $587,500 bonus and is now playing Class"A" Advanced ball in San Jose.
"I'm finally relieved," said Williams, who is making his first trip to the mainland.
"It was long, kind of frustrating but finally I'm a Giant."
Williams and his mother, Deborah, traveled to watch the Giants play in San Diego earlier this week and then went to San Francisco to watch more Giants baseball and to conclude the deal.
He said one of the highlights of his trip was when Colletti took him into the clubhouse to meet some of the Giants players.
"I met Barry Bonds, Ellis Burks, Robb Nen, and Charlie Hayes," he said.
"It felt awesome to be around all those superstars."
Williams finished his senior year at Waipahu High with a 0.30 earned run average and 116 strikeouts in 65 innings.
"I'm very confident for him," said Deborah."I know he can make it bigtime."
Williams, whose mother is nearly half-Hawaiian, is also the highest drafted local baseball player of native ancestry.
San Francisco Giants