On June 29, 1969, the Cubs honored their own “Iron Man”, Billy Williams, as he played in his 896th consecutive game and passed Stan Musial as the National League record holder.
The ceremony was held between games of a Wrigley double-header against St. Louis and the man of the hour made out like a showcase winner on “The Price Is Right”. Billy received a new Chrysler, a boat and motor, washer and dryer, pool table and watch among his gifts from the team. Through tears, he took the microphone and thanked God, his family, and his teammates for all their help.
The Cubs rallied around their sweet swinger, winning their first double-header of the year (in their 8th try) by scores of 3-1 and 12-1. Billy doubled and scored in the first game, then almost hit for the cycle in the nightcap with a single, double, and triple. Here’s how he remembers that day:
”I had hurt my foot the week before and had to work hard so I didn’t miss the game. When I got to the ballpark, there were ten or fifteen thousand people waiting to get in. It was a doubleheader with the Cardinals and they tell me they turned away another ten or fifteen thousand. The first game I got a base hit and wound up scoring the winning run. For the ceremony I had my mother here. I told her to make sure not to faint. During the ceremony, they ran out the car, they ran out the boat, the guys are standing around. It was a great time. It was great. I had a lot of fun. In the second game I got a single, double, triple, and I needed a home run for the cycle that day. Going up to the plate, I knew what I had to do and the fans knew it because they were chanting my name. That would have really topped it off, but I struck out. As I headed back for the bench, they gave me a standing ovation and I always said I was the only guy who got a standing ovation for striking out. We won both games, though, and went into first place. By the time I got home and I hit the Barcalounger they give me, I was dead asleep. I’ll tell you, it was a beautiful day.”
- Bob Vorwald