Statue's beyond Williams' wildest dreams

253173.jpg

Statue's beyond Williams' wildest dreams

Tuesday, Sept. 7, 201011:54 PM

By Patrick MooneyCSNChicago.com
Growing up in Alabama, Billy Williams would watch TV with his family and dream about playing professional baseball. As a young man working in the segregated South, he would be forced into dining rooms separate from the rest of his minor-league teammates.

I looked at the big picture, he said.

That perspective helped get Williams to where he was Tuesday night, standing beside his brand-new statue outside Wrigley Field at the corner of Sheffield and Addison. It is a monument to a Hall of Fame career, and 52 years in the Cubs organization.

Those deep connections brought the Ricketts family, seemingly all the high-ranking members of the front office and several beloved teammates from Ernie Banks to Ron Santo to Fergie Jenkins out to Tuesdays dedication ceremony.

He was not flashy or loud, Banks said, but he played the game the right way.

Others will draw attention to Williams, currently a senior advisor to the club. His No. 26 already flies from the right-field flagpole, a tribute to his 2,213 games, .296 average and 392 homers with the Cubs.

I got it done, Williams said. I didnt throw the bat in the air. I didnt try to show up the pitchers. I just went out and tried to do my job. As a matter of fact, you couldnt do it anyway, because guys like (Bob) Gibson and (Don) Drysdale (would) knock you down. But thats the way I was. (It) was a job to me.

Williams is still an old-school presence in Arizona during spring training, and when he found out his day was coming in September, it couldnt get here fast enough.

For generations to come, he wont be forgotten. The fans heading to Wrigley Field will begin to say: Meet me at the Billy Williams statue.

This is beyond my wildest dreams, he said.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Wake-up Call: Cubs targeting Yu?; Yoan produces for Sox; Q plots line combos

yu.jpg
USA TODAY

Wake-up Call: Cubs targeting Yu?; Yoan produces for Sox; Q plots line combos

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from a Friday: 

Will Cubs add another ace? Report says North Siders interested in Yu Darvish

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Who goes where? Quenneville is already plotting the options

One year later, White Sox have clear direction, no longer 'mired in mediocrity'

Jose Quintana admits trade rumors have affected him negatively this season

Bears training camp preview: Three burning questions for the offensive line

Fire head to Yankee Stadium for big Eastern Conference clash

White Sox minor league trade could signal more big league moves to come

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

With NL Central suddenly bunched up, a reminder it won't all be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for Cubs in second half

 

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

hector_rondon_maddon_cubs_implosions_slide.jpg
AP

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these recent implosions from Cubs pitching staff

Joe Maddon has not seen anything like these single-inning implosions lately.

At least not at the major-league level.

For the third time in the last five Wrigley Field contest, the Cubs pitching staff has allowed at least seven runs in an inning.

This time, it was nine runs before the first out was recorded in the eighth inning of Friday's 11-4 Cardinals victory.

The Cubs actually entered the inning clinging to a 3-2 lead and had their best setup guy — Carl Edwards Jr. — slated to pitch against the top of the Cardinals order.

But after taking out his teammate with a foul ball, Matt Carpenter began the wacky inning with a double off Edwards and the rout was on.

"We had a bad inning pitching," Maddon said after the game. "That's the third time in a week here at this ballpark, if you go back prior to the break. It's a seven, a nine and a 10 in an inning. 

"I've not seen that since rookie ball. That's crazy stuff. I'm saying it straight up: We played good baseball today. We just pitched badly for one inning. Some really good pitchers had a tough time.

"...That's kind of a strange day. We played well and lost because we gave up nine runs in an inning, which is really awkward to watch from the dugout."

Thirty-eight minutes after Edwards threw the first pitch of the inning, the Cubs finally retired the Cardinals and were looking up at an 11-3 score. 

Neither Edwards nor Hector Rondon recorded an out and they combined with Justin Grimm to allow six hits, six walks and nine runs.

Here's how it all went down:

That's the second straight Wrigley Field game that has featured at least nine runs in an inning but a Cubs opponent. Ace Jon Lester surrendered 10 runs in the first inning to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the day before the All-Star Break began.

And the day before that series began, Mike Montgomery and the Cubs gave up seven runs to the Milwaukee Brewers in a rain make-up game at the "Friendly Confines."

"You see it every now and again. Not often," said Jake Arrieta, Friday's starting pitcher who was in line for a win before that wild eighth inning. "You stick around this game long enough and you see some crazy things happen. And really, that was the turning point in the game. 

"A couple guys had a pretty rare outing in the 8th there. You won't see that rarely ever or ever again from those two guys. Just a tough one."

Rondon, who had entered the game having allowed just two runs in his last 13 innings, could do nothing but shake his head in trying to explain it after the game.

"That was a weird, weird inning," Rondon said. "First time I've seen something like that — nine runs with no outs. But it is what it is. They got us today and we'll see tomorrow."

Maddon has seen control issues with his bullpen all year, but still has confidence in the unit as a whole. He knows not to overreact to one game.

However, Maddon did point to the first game coming out of the All-Star Break where Montgomery and the Cubs bullpen squandered an 8-0 lead before Addison Russell's heroics to break the tie for good late in that contest.

"The bullpen has been fabulous," Maddon said. "Twice since the break, they just had tough games."

Rondon and the Cubs relievers won't overreact, either.

A year ago at this time, Rondon was the Cubs' closer and they hadn't yet traded for Aroldis Chapman. So no, one outing won't get him down. 

"Right now, I'm pissed and whatever," he said, "but tomorrow, I'll come in with a different mentality and try to win the game."