Who Knew? Alpha Rho Charter Brother Was Step-Father To, And Directed The Legendary Baseball Career
Brother Williams, known campus-wide by the name "Nish Williams," was a member of the Morehouse Baseball Team in the position of catcher, and the "M" Club. Williams graduated from Morehouse College in 1926.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on February 29, 1904 and died on September 2, 1968 in his hometown. Negro Baseball League records indicate that his birth name was Vinicius J. Williams, and he went by the nickname Zeke during his 13 active years with the league. After retirement, he became a successful Atlanta resturaneur in Black Atlanta.
During Donn Clendenon's college years at Morehouse College, 1969 World Series MVP and one of the most pivotal players in Mets history was mentored by the greatest and most pivotal African American of the 20th century -- Nish Williams. His big brother at Morehouse was none other than Martin Luther King, Jr.
While his impact on baseball long-term was in his raising of stepson Donn Clendenon, Nish Williams had a fine career in the Negro Leagues and managed briefly as well. Primarily a catcher who was not noted for his arm, he played every position except shortstop, center field and pitcher. He was known as a pull hitter. After Donn Clendenon's biological father died when he was six months old, Williams became his stepfather and instilled a love for baseball in him. While Clendenon had preferred football and basketball and could have made more money possibly in either sport, he chose baseball out of consideration for his stepfather's interest. Williams lived long enough to see his stepson hit 28 homers for the 1966 Pirates.
In 1944, Helen and "Nish" Williams opened Williams Tavern on Hunter Street. The restaurant's "Blue Dining Room" featured the house specialty, southern fried chicken.
Williams worked for many years as an unpaid assistant coach at Morehouse. No less than Satchel Paige once credited Williams with being the only man who got around on the famed “hummer”— Paige’s legendary fastball. It was Williams, too, who fine-tuned young Roy Campanella’s catching skills.