Icons of the Ivy: Billy Williams
“Sweet Swinging” Billy Williams was not only one of the best players in Cubs history but also one of the most durable.
He set a National League record with 1,117 consecutive games played from 1963-70 (which has since been broken).
“Billy’s name wasn’t penciled into the lineup, it was written in ink,” said team historian Ed Hartig.
Williams won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1961, when he hit 25 homers with 86 RBI and an .822 OPS. He finished 2nd in MVP voting in 1970 and 1972 and earned 6 nods to the All-Star Game. He also won the batting title in 1972 with a .333 average — and paced the NL with a .606 slugging percentage and 1.005 OPS.
Over the course of his career, Williams notched 5 separate 30-homer seasons en route to 392 blasts in Cubbie blue. That number ranks 3rd all-time in franchise history.
He also ranks 3rd in games played, at-bats and hits, while sitting 4th in runs and RBI and 5th in doubles and walks.
Upon retirement, he spent time with the Cubs as a coach and member of the front office and is still an ambassador for the team.
Williams was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 — the same year his No. 26 was retired by the Cubs.