Williams, 40, spent the last two years with San Diego, where he was 12-5 with a 3.65 ERA for the Padres. He was one of eight National League pitchers to record eight or more wins after the All-Star break. The Houston native, who is thrilled to be playing for his hometown team, took time during his busy off-season to talk with MLB.com/kids.
Check out what he had to say!
Michael McHugh: As a kid did you ever think you would be in the major leagues playing for the home town team?
Woody Williams: No, I never did. It was always one of my dreams, and I am happy to be home playing for the home team.
McHugh: You had a good win loss record with the Padres last year. 12- 5 with a 3.65 ERA. Did you feel it was a good season for you, and was there any reluctance to leave San Diego?
Williams: I did feel it was a pretty good season and I would like to win a few more ball games this year but there was really no reason I left San Diego other that the opportunity to pitch for the Astros.
McHugh: Any significance to wearing # 29 for the Astros?
Williams: No, no significance. The numbers that I wanted were taken and that was one that appealed to me.
McHugh: With Andy Pettitte moving on to NY and Roger Clemens still up in the air about what he will do this season, did it in the least bit disappoint you to learn Andy moved on? How are you feeling about the rotation this coming season?
Williams: I am really excited about the rotation. I think we are going to do well. It’s hard to lose Andy Pettitte, and the uncertainty of Roger, but I think we are still going to be ok.
McHugh: What is the best team pitching rotation you have played on? I am thinking when you were in Toronto.
Williams: Yes, Toronto, or maybe even St. Louis. In Toronto, it was myself, Roger Clemens, Juan Guzman, Pat Hentgen and Chris Carpenter.
McHugh: When you were moved from a reliever to a starter in 1997, was that a hard transition for you to make?
Williams: No, it was really easy because all through the minor league that’s what I did, I started. So I was ready and wanting to do that.
McHugh: What was it like for to you to be in an All-Star game (2003)and a World Series (with St. Louis in 2004)?
Williams: It was incredible. It’s the whole reason we play baseball, to pitch or play in a World Series. It was a fun time. Playing in an All-Star game was a nice experience.
McHugh: What do you consider to be your best pitch?
Williams: It really depends on the day. Sometimes it’s my fastball, but location is so important.
McHugh: What’s it like to throw a knuckle ball? Do you use that pitch much in games?
Williams: I don’t use it too often , and I work on different things. Anything that makes me better, I’ll try it.
McHugh: Being you are from the Houston area, is your family excited to be back home and close to the ballpark?
Williams: Oh yes, they are very happy to have me play here.
McHugh: What do you do for relaxation in the off season?
Williams: Spend time with my family, and that’s about it. It’s real simple. It’s an opportunity to be with my kids and my wife.
McHugh: Who do you consider the best hitter and the best pitcher in the majors today?
Williams: The best right handed hitter, Albert Pujols, and the best left handed hitter, Lance Berkman, and the best pitcher, Roy Oswalt.
McHugh: Do you have any organizations in Houston you hope to work with?
Williams: I work with Special Olympics and I am involved in my church.
McHugh: What has been your most memorable baseball moment?
Williams: I think the first time I was able to pitch in the major leagues and being called up to the majors for the first time.