I recently received this card as part of a package from Thorzul for winning the Nightmares on Cardboard IV contest (Thank you to all who voted for me) and for some reason I held this card aside, I was just drawn to it so I decided to do a search for some Ricky Williams fun facts.
This card is from Upper Deck’s 1999 SP Top Prospects Minor League Baseball release. The set included some true prospects like Roy Halladay, Pat Burrell and Josh Hamilton. Williams was drafted out of high school by the Phillies and only played 4 years of Minor League baseball while he was playing football at the University of Texas. As a baseball player he was not even “average”, in his 4 seasons in the Minor Leagues he had a.211 batting average with 4 home runs, 120 hits and 159 strikeouts. I am guessing the only reason that Upper Deck included him in the checklist was because he had just won the Heisman Trophy and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints.
As far as his football career goes he will probably be best remembered as the guy Mike Ditka traded away the Saints (immediate) future just for the chance to draft him and of course his marijuana smoking, early retirement and his failed time in the CFL (and broken arm). What many people do not realize is that during his 11 year NFL career Williams was quietly piling on the yards, eventually topping 10,000 rushing yards. This is a feat that only 25 other players reached, though Steven Jackson is only 135 yards away from 10k rushing yards with 4 games still to play.
Of those 25 players ahead of him; 13 are in the Hall of Fame, 5 are not eligible for the ballot yet (have not reached the required time since retirement), 6 have not been inducted yet and 1 is currently an unsigned free agent. Though I would expect that Jerome Bettis, who is #6 on rushing list and is on the current ballot, will eventually be voted in to the Hall of Fame. Even with hitting the magically 10k rushing yard mark I do not believe that Ricky Williams will ever see the inside of the NFL Hall of Fame unless he buys a ticket but he did give us something exciting to watch, Americans sure do love a train wreck.