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This day in 1998: An old friend comes back for a third tour of duty

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He didn’t contribute much to the eventual NL champs, but every bit counts

Eddie Williams

Yikes, I almost forgot that the thirteenth is one of the few days in January upon which the Padres did something of significance in 1998, so this is cutting it close. Truth be told, it’s the fourteenth of the month where I’m at, 2,500 miles east of most Padres fans, but they and this site are on Pacific time, and I’m not willing to say I’ve already ruined this series not even halfway through the first month.

So, 20 years ago on this day to most of you, the Padres made a low-key signing by bringing back first baseman Eddie Williams on a minor league deal. Williams had previously played for the Padres in 1990 and again in 1994 and ‘95, serving as a third baseman his first time in town, then across the diamond when he returned from time in Japan and with the Braves and Twins’ AAA affiliates. After his second stint in San Diego, Williams played for the Tigers in 1996, then split 1997 between the Dodgers, their AAA team in Albuquerque, and the Pirates.

Williams was assigned to AAA Las Vegas to start the 1998 season; he had also spent time there during his prior stays with the organization. He got the call up to San Diego in early May and headed back to Nevada three weeks later, never to return. His contributions to that year’s National League Champions amounted to four singles in 28 at-bats over 17 games. Not only was that his final stint with the Padres, it was his last time in the major leagues whatsoever.

Tomorrow (just a few minutes from now!) marks the anniversary of the Padres’ first trade of 1998. The player they got back contributed slightly more than Williams, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll try not to wait until right before midnight to tell you all about it, though.