Billy Williams wore #26 and helped lead the Cubs in the 1960's alongside Mr. Cub. Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Countdown to Opening Day: 26 Days - No one better than Billy Williams


26 Days to Opening Day and the number 26 for the Chicago Cubs is tied to Hall of Famer Billy Williams. The Cubs retired the number in the early 1980s for his offensive production and acolades. Baseball fans from around the league all agreed Williams deserved his call to the Hall and that no other Cubs player should ever don No. 26 again.

Prior to Williams, Hank Borowy wore famed No. 26 for the North Siders. Borowy came to Chicago in a midseason trade from the New York Yankees in 1945 and combined for 21 wins with the two clubs, leading the National League with a 2.13 ERA. Following the Cubs pennant win, Borowy pitched for three more seasons in Chicago but never was able to match his production of 1945.

No. 26 is really all about Williams. The 1987 HOF Class member started his career with a bang as he hit 25 home runs en route to winning NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1961. Williams hit .290 in his career and was a six-time All-Star. He also finished second in the 1970 and 1972 NL Most Valuable Player award vote and finished in the top 20 on five separate occasions. An underrated element to his game was his durability –over a 12-year span from 1962-1973 he played no less than 150 games a season and led the NL in games played five of those six years from 1965-1970.

While Borowy did make an impact for the Cubs in ’45 pennant season, no one produced better wearing the No. 26 better than Williams.

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