Dibrell “Dib” Williams was born in Greenbrier in 1910. He was the son of Dr. Earl “Doc” Williams, who ran the well-known and very successful baseball school in the area.
In a span of six years, he played football for Conway High School, basketball at Hendrix College, and baseball in the World Series.
Athletic record keeping a century ago was nowhere near what it is today, but the Arkansas Gazette has several articles listing Williams as scoring touchdowns for the Wampus Cats in the fall of 1926.
Then at the semester break, he enrolled at Hendrix and played basketball in the spring of 1927.
The Hendrix Bulldogs, as they were known at the time, posted a 21-3 record for the 1926-27 season. The school’s athletic records indicate that Williams played in 12 games and scored 17 points.
The 1927 edition of their yearbook, The Troubadour, has a picture of Williams in the hardwood section and it reads:
“When ‘Dib’ entered school at the beginning of the second semester, a real athlete was gained by Hendrix. He immediately set about winning his spurs in basketball, and when given the chance he made good. More will be heard of this Conway youth during the next four years.”
However, he would not last long at Hendrix, as he left for Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater where he played a little football and basketball, before returning to Arkansas in 1929.
Williams played baseball for the Little Rock Travelers, playing well enough to get the attention of several major league teams. He signed with the Philadelphia Athletics and made his major league debut in 1930 at the tender age of 20.
He appeared in 37 games as a rookie, as the A’s won the World Series, although he did not play in the series.
With Philadelphia, he played for the legendary Connie Mack, who won more games than any manger in MLB history.
His teammates included future Hall of Famers Jimmy Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Lefty Grove.
In 1931, he appeared in 86 games. The A’s lost the World Series, although Williams played in all seven games, and played well, hitting .320 while committing no errors.
His best year was arguably 1933, when he played in 115 games, with career highs of 118 hits, 11 home runs, 73 RBIs, and a .289 batting average.
After starting the 1935 season with Philadelphia, he was quickly traded to Boston where he appeared in 75 games.
That was his last year in the big leagues.
All told, Williams played in 476 MLB games during a six-year career, 216 at second base and 195 at shortstop. He also played a little at first base, third base and the outfield.
He compiled a .267 career batting average on 421 hits, with 29 home runs, 201 runs batted in and 198 runs scored.
Williams would continue to play in the minor leagues for about another decade, and also served as a manager there for a number of seasons.
He eventually returned to Greenbrier, where he farmed. Williams passed away in 1992 at the age of 82.