The Chicago Cubs All-Time rookie team

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Former Chicago Cubs star Billy Williams – Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Left Field: Billy Williams (1961)

Billy Williams was a great all-around player and a great person.  The phrase “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” said by President Theodore Roosevelt – fits Williams perfectly.

Not one to talk up a storm and let his emotions be on display – he let his play do all the talking.  He was signed by the Cubs in the late 1950’s as an armature free agent.  He started out in the minors, but he wouldn’t be there long.

Rogers Hornsby – who at the time was a scout and coach with the Cubs – would say this about Williams, “I suggest you get this kid Williams to Chicago as rapidly as possible because there isn’t anybody on the Cubs right now who can swing a bat as well as he does. It’s silly to keep him in the minors any longer. ” (credit

Getting a small taste of the big leagues in 1959 and 1960 – Williams would be ready for a full-time run in 1961 for his full rookie season.

At the plate – there wasn’t much stopping him – posting a line of .278 batting average, 25 home runs, and 86 runs batted in.

He did struggle early with his glove playing the outfield but continued to work hard on that part of his game.

The numbers that he put up at the plate were impressive enough to win the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1961 – beating out Joe Torre and fellow Cub, Jack Curtis.

Williams played the game hard, and he played it well.  His rookie season was the start of a great career.

"“People say I’m not an exciting player. I go out there and catch the ball and hit the ball and play the game like it should be played.” Billy Williams via Billy Williams:  My Sweet-Swinging Lifetime with the Cubs co-author Fred Mitchell"

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