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Billy Williams

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Information about Billy Williams

Profile image of Billy Williams

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Baseball Player

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beans (Pinto, Red)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Good, Better, Best. Never Let It Rest Until The Good Is Better, And The Better Is Best.

Birthplace

Born:
6/15/1938
Birth Location:
Whistler, Alabama

Profession

Category:
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Baseball Player

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beans (Pinto, Red)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Good, Better, Best. Never Let It Rest Until The Good Is Better, And The Better Is Best.

Birthplace

Born:
6/15/1938
Birth Location:
Whistler
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Biography

Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and former Chicago Cubs outfielder, Billy Williams was born Billy Leo Williams to Jesse Moseley Williams and Frank Levert Williams on June 15, 1938, in Whistler, Alabama. Williams’s father was from Dolphin Island, had ties with the Faustina community, and was a teammate of Bill Robinson, who later became a member of the Negro League’s Chicago American Giants. The Mobile area produced Major League Baseball Hall of Famers such as all time home run king, Hank Aaron, and pitching legend, Satchell Paige; other greats from Mobile include Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, Tommy Aaron, Cleon Jones and Tommy Agee. Most of the aforementioned stars had played for Ed Tucker’s Mobile Black Bears. Williams attended Whistler Elementary School where he excelled in sports; he graduated from Mobile County Training School in 1956; that same year Williams, following his brother Franklin Williams, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs.

Playing initially with the minor league Ponca City, Oklahoma, Cubs of the Sooner State League, Williams improved his game. Other black members of the Cubs organization included Gene Baker, future Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, Sam “Toothpick” Jones, Sollie Drake and Negro League great, Buck O’Neal who served as a scout. Despite Jackie Robinson’s 1948 integration of Major League Baseball, Williams faced segregated accommodations on the road and at home games. In 1957, Williams hit a walk off home run to beat the Cardinals minor league team; this play angered the players on the all-white Cardinal team so much that they beat up the black elevator operator at their hotel as a stand-in for Williams. The next day with the game in progress, the elevator operator emptied his gun at the Cardinal players as Williams watched from left field.

Called up first in 1959, Williams was named National League Rookie of the Year in 1961. In his career, Williams hit twenty or more home runs in fourteen different seasons, and batted .300 five times. Williams was hero of the legendary 1969 Cubs along with Ernie Banks and Ferguson Jenkins. In 1970, Williams led the National League in runs scored (137) and tied for the lead in hits (205), while batting .322 with forty-five home runs. Williams was the Sporting News National League Player of the Year in 1972. Selected as an All-Star six times, he was the second most durable player in National League history (as of 2007) playing 1,117 consecutive games. Traded to the Oakland A’s in 1974, Williams played in the American League Championship Series in 1975. After eighteen years with the organization, Williams began his post player years as a coach for the A’s. Williams joined the Cubs staff in 1986, becoming an assistant to Cubs president Andy McPhail. Williams was elected to the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 in Cooperstown, New York. In 1999, Williams was named as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.


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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Billy Williams' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Billy Williams lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Billy Williams describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Billy Williams describes his mother's ancestry in Whistler, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Billy Williams describes his father's community in Faustinas, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes his parents' marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Billy Williams recalls race relations during his youth in Whistler, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Billy Williams describes his father's work as a stevedore in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Billy Williams describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls his introduction to baseball during childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls baseball players from Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes Hank Aaron's early career in baseball
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Billy Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes his experiences in grade school in Whistler, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Billy Williams describes his athletic talent as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billy Williams remembers Bishop Joseph Howze
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billy Williams describes his experiences at Mobile County Training School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls music from his youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls signing his first contract with the Chicago Cubs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billy Williams recalls his teammates in the Chicago Cubs organization
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billy Williams talks about changing his position to outfielder
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes how he developed his baseball swing
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Billy Williams recalls being mentored by Rogers Hornsby
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Billy Williams recalls an incident with a gunman at a game in Ponca City, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls his experiences playing baseball in Ponca City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls how he considered quitting minor league baseball
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Billy Williams recalls the baseball career of his brother, Franklin Williams
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Billy Williams recalls being called up to the Chicago Cubs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes changes in Major League Baseball since his rookie year
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Billy Williams describes the changing roles of pitchers in baseball
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Billy Williams talks about the difficulty of scouting in baseball
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls his rookie year with the Chicago Cubs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Billy Williams remembers playing for the Chicago Cubs in the early 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Billy Williams recalls the personalities of his Oakland Athletics teammates
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Billy Williams reflects upon the Chicago Cubs' history of losing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Billy Williams talks about how statistics affect baseball players
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Billy Williams describes the 1969 Chicago Cubs roster
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Billy Williams recalls competing with the New York Mets in the 1969 season
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Billy Williams talks about the 2007 Chicago Cubs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls his best seasons for the Chicago Cubs in the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes his experiences of racial discrimination in Major League Baseball
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Billy Williams talks about playing baseball for the Oakland Athletics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Billy Williams talks about his record for consecutive games started
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Billy Williams remembers being named to the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Billy Williams recalls returning to baseball as a hitting coach
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Billy Williams recalls living on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Billy Williams describes his career as the Chicago Cubs' coach and advisor
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Billy Williams describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes his views on baseball's steroid abuse scandal
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Billy Williams reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Billy Williams reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Billy Williams talks about his favorite Chicago Cubs players
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Billy Williams describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Billy Williams narrates his photographs