Williams was an All-Star catcher who didn’t want to catch. His 1971 season won him the NL Rookie of the Year award; he reached career highs with a .260 batting average, 33 HR, and 87 RBI while catching and playing first base and third base. He was nearly as good in 1972 (28 HR, 87 RBI, .258), but his constant complaining about playing behind the plate led Atlanta to trade him to Baltimore for 1973 with a throw-in in return for Davey Johnson, Pat Dobson, Johnny Oates, and Roric Harrison. He continued to hit for power, but his average declined and his complaining continued.
Williams is the only Brave besides Hank Aaron to hit a ball into the upper deck at Atlanta – Fulton County Stadium.