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Billy Williams (baseball player)
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Billy Williams (baseball player)

Billy Leo Williams (born June 15, 1938) is an American former player in Major League Baseball. A highly competitive player on talented Chicago Cubs teams that never reached the post-season, he finally realized his dream of playing in the World Series late in his career.

Williams was born in Whistler, Alabama. He started his career in 1959, joining a team that would feature stars like Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, and Ron Santo by the early 1960s. Williams was selected as the Rookie of the Year in 1961, and played 1,117 consecutive games between 1962-1971, at the time a National League record.

Williams enjoyed his finest season in 1972 at age 34, when he paced the league in batting average with a .333 mark, also posting a .606 slugging percentage while collecting 37 home runs and 122 runs batted in. He finished behind Johnny Bench in the Most Valuable Player voting, just as he had done in 1970. It was his last great season in the league before being traded to the American League's Oakland Athletics for second baseman Manny Trillo and two pitchers. Williams helped lead Oakland to the 1975 World Series as a designated hitter, hitting 23 homers with 81 RBI. He retired a year later.

After accumulating a lifetime batting average of .290 with 426 home runs and 1475 runs batted in, Billy Williams was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987. He is currently a coach with the Cubs.

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