Monday, July 12, 1999
The Waipahu pitcher nowBy Pat Bigold
heads to the Giants' Class A
affiliate in Oregon
Waipahu's Jerome Williams, the highest drafted Hawaii native baseball player ever, signed with the San Francisco Giants for a bonus of more than $800,000.
Although, the Williams family, their advisers and Giants management all declined to reveal a money figure, the Star-Bulletin learned from a source in San Francisco that the bonus was "in the lower $800,000 range."
The bonus to which Williams agreed is the most ever given a local baseball player.
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound right-hander, who was taken 39th overall by the Giants on June 2, will proceed to San Francisco's Class A affiliate, Salem-Keizer (Oregon), in the short-season Northwest League.
The bonus represents a substantial increase over what the Giants paid the 38th overall pick in the 1998 draft. Chris Jones, a left-handed prep pitcher from North Carolina, received a $587,500 bonus. He is playing Class A Advanced ball in San Jose.
"I'm finally relieved," Williams said by phone from his hotel over the weekend. He is on his first trip to the mainland.
"It was long, kind of frustrating (the negotiation) but finally I'm a Giant."
Williams and his mother, Deborah, traveled to watch the Giants play in San Diego last week and then went to San Francisco to watch more Giants baseball. They concluded the deal in the office of Giants assistant general manager Ned Colletti just after 10 a.m. PST on Saturday. Colletti was the main negotiator for the club.
Williams 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 said.
Williams, whose fastball was clocked at between 88 and 95 mph, finished his senior year at Waipahu High with an 8-3 record, 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 big-time."
The last local player taken in last month's draft who is expected to sign is Rex Rundgren, a shortstop who played for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champions, Mid-Pacific Institute.
Rundgren, selected 739th overall in the 24th round by the Boston Red Sox, remains unsigned. Sources say the holdup is due to Boston's bonus money being tied up with earlier picks.