Art Williams

Arthur Williams, born February 24th, 1934 in Camden, AR, was a professional baseball player from 1953-1956 and a professional baseball umpire from 1969-1977. Williams was the first African-American umpire in the National League.


Art Williams was born in Camden, AR, and was signed as a pitcher out of high school in 1953, becoming the first ever African-American to play in the Detroit Tigers organization.(1) He played 3 seasons of minor league ball before he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies organization.(2) With Stockton in 1956, Williams pitched and won both of games of a doubleheader, a combined 16 inning display.(3) Williams retired from pitching at the end of the season, finishing his minor league career with a 36-41 record and a 4.83 ERA.(2)

After his pitching career ended, Williams umpired various amateur games in his hometown of Bakersfield, CA. He turned professional in 1970 and spent only a short time in the minors before he umpired his first major league game on September 18, 1972.

Williams umpired 806 more MLB games. He died in 1979 at age 4.


Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.


1. Sports Illustrated, 6/30/1975
2. Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.
3. The Sporting News, 9/19/1956, p. 47