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.