Born February 12, 1923 in Conroe, Texas; Marvin Williams spent his entire Negro League baseball career (1943 – 1950) with the Philadelphia Stars. The power hitting second baseman played in the 1944 East-West All-Star game. Together with Jackie Robinson and Sam Jethroe, Williams participated in a “token” tryout given by the Boston Red Sox for African-American players in 1945. Although exhibiting they were talented baseball players during the workout, neither of the three were signed by the team. Both Robinson and Jethroe made it to the Major Leagues a few years after that tryout (Robinson in 1947, Jethroe in 1950), but not Williams.
He hurt his throwing arm limiting his defensive abilities after returning to the Stars. Williams left Negro League baseball in 1950 and spent the decade showing flashes of his hitting power while integrating minor league teams. In 1954 he hit .360 with 21 home runs playing with Vancouver (Western League). While a teammate of Frank Robinson in 1955 with Columbia (Sally League), Williams hit .328 with 16 home runs. Robinson went on to be named National League Rookie of the Year in 1956 starting his Hall Fame baseball career. Williams stayed in the minor leagues and hit .322, 26 home runs and 111 RBIs that year with Tulsa (Double AA Texas League).
There is no doubt Marvin Williams had the reputation of being a good hitter. However, the initial slow process of integration in white professional baseball during the late 1940s, an arm injury, and his advancing age in the 1950s (30+) kept him out of the Major Leagues.
To read about the Negro League baseball era Last Train To Cooperstown