What if I told you there was another Billy Williams that played in the major leagues, but only had ten at bats and did not record a hit? I bet one could envision that- a player that happened to have that same name, not the most uncommon name in the history of names. I am also sure the expectation would be that the latter Williams' MLB cup of coffee would be the end of the story.
William Williams was the latter Billy Williams' birthname and he was born in Newberry, South Carolina. He made his professional baseball debut in the Mountain States League in 1950. This was the second version of the Mountain States League, the first one lasted just two seasons in 1911 and 1912, This version started in 1948 and ran through 1954. Williams hit .270 with six home runs in 95 games in 1950 before a breakout 1951 season saw him hit ,344 with a ,991 on base plus slugging where he also scored 134 runs and drove in 140 runs.
This season piqued the interest of the Cleveland Indians, who signed the then 22-year-old outfielder. Billy would spend the next six seasons bouncing around to and from B and C levels in the Cleveland organization. While putting up consistent numbers, Williams never got a chance to play in the big leagues. He had a breakout season in 1958 playing for the Minot Mallards of the Northern League, when he hit.330 with a .944 OPS with 14 triples, 13 home runs, 102 runs batted in and 21 stolen bases.
He followed that up with a couple solid, but not all-star level seasons. In 1959, he hit .286 with a .767 OPS, 10 triples, 7 home runs and 93 RBI before playing for the Cleveland A level team in 1960 where he hit .284 with a .779 OPS, 17 home runs and 96 RBI. He remained a regular at the Triple- A level for the next six seasons, still not getting a call-up to the big club. He was finally emancipated from the Indians organization after the 1967 season and fourteen (14) seasons playing in the minor leagues! He would split the 1968 season between the Hawaii Islanders of the Chicago White Sox organization and the Seattle Angels of the California Angels club and had a respectable, but not eye catching, showing in about 100 games. A year later, he played for the Vancouver Mounties in the expansion Montreal Expos organization and hit .283 with 7 home runs and 79 RBI.
Seemingly just out of the blue, Williams found himself called up to the Major Leagues in August of 1969 by the expansion Seattle Pilots. Perhaps scouts had seen something during his brief time in Seattle in 1968. Baseball reference has a vague transaction history stating that he went back and forth between the Pilots and Chicago White Sox franchises, but nothing really explains how he ended up on the Seattle Pilots' roster. He made his MLB debut on August 15, aged 37 years and 63 days. As stated earlier, Williams did not get a hit in ten at bats, however he did score a run when he was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Tommy Davis.
Williams would not play in another professional game after 1969. He would then embark on a career in business as the owner of the Billy Williams' Men's Boutique in Oakland, California. He joined John McNamara's MLB coaching staff in 1990 with the Indians, finally getting to wear the uniform he had earned to wear after spending 14 seasons in their minor league system. He coached for many minor league baseball teams through his seventies, even serving as the interim manager of the Sioux City Explorers in 2005. Williams passed away on June 11, 2013, just two days shy of his 81st birthday.