Billy Williams and 500 Home Run Club member Ernie Banks were longtime teammates with the Chicago Cubs. The pair of sluggers even roomed together on the road for a period of time and became Hall of Famers following their distinguished careers.
And in about five months, Williams and Banks will share another distinct experience. New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts announced that a statue of Williams will be erected and placed outside of Wrigley Field on September 7th. Banks already received that honor in 2008.
“I am extremely appreciative and humbled by this tremendous honor from the Cubs,” said Williams. “I have spent nearly my entire professional career in this organization and am thankful to the Ricketts family for this wonderful gesture. My family and I could not be more excited for the statue’s unveiling later this year.”
In 1956, "Sweet-swinging" Billy Williams from Whistler, Alabama, joined the Cubs organization. He has spent more than 40 years with the club as a player, major league coach, special assistant to the president and senior advisor to the organization. Williams was named the 1961 National League Rookie of the Year. As a six-time All-Star, Williams hit at least 20 home runs in 14 of his 18 major league seasons.
“Billy Williams thrilled a generation of Chicago Cubs fans with his sweet swing and Hall of Fame career,” said Ricketts. “Now future generations of Cubs fans will learn about one of the true Cubs greats when they visit Wrigley. My family and I congratulate him and are proud to honor him.”
On July 26, 1987, Williams was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Several weeks later on August 13, the Cubs formally retired his uniform number No. 26.
The statue will be sculpted by Lou Cella from The Rotblatt-Amrany Fine Art Studio. Cella also sculpted the Banks statue and partnered with Omri Amrany to create the Harry Caray statue.