While the card I designed here shows him as an Oakland A's player after his final year in the Majors, Williams made his everlasting mark on professional baseball as a member of the Chicago Cubs alongside other stars like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Fergie Jenkins.
After 16 seasons with the Cubs, Williams was traded to Oakland for three players in October of 1974, hoping to finally get into a World Series. After all, it seemed like a sure-bet considering Oakland was coming off three consecutive championships.
However, as (bad) luck would have it, the A's never made it back to the Fall Classic during Williams' final two seasons before he retired in 1976.
Williams broke into the big leagues in fine fashion, winning the N.L. Rookie of the Year in 1961 at the age of 23.
From then on he formed a powerful trio with the aforementioned Santo and Banks, going on to six all-star appearances and eight seasons where he finished with M.V.P. votes.
As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench, Williams would have had two M.V.P.'s under his belt in 1970 and 1972, as he finished in second place both years to the legendary backstop.
By the time he retired, he sported some top-notch offensive numbers achieved during the "pitching-era" of the 1960's and early '70's: a .290 batting average, 426 homers, 1475 runs batted in and over 2700 hits.
All those beefy stats were good enough for induction in the Hall of Fame, getting voted in in 1987 and joining his longtime teammate and fellow offensive monster, Ernie Banks aka "Mr. Cub". Ron Santo would join them years later in 2012.
So let's go ahead and take one last look at Billy Williams, on a 1977 baseball card as an Oakland A's player, celebrating his Hall of Fame career.
|One last card for "Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler".|