CHICAGO – When Trevor Williams signed with the Cubs this offseason, it was a dream come true – for his dad.
“I’m a little league dad, what am I doing here with a son on the team,” joked Richard Williams outside of Wrigley Field. “I’ve got his jersey with Williams on the back and it’s not Billy Williams. It’s my Williams.”
Richard Williams grew up on the South Side, taking the L to Wrigley as a teenager.
“I came out here a lot. I was just a crazy Cubs fan.”
Williams even worked at the Friendly Confines 1970 to 1974 as an usher. He still has his Andy Frain uniform.
The Brother Rice grad joined the Marine Corps and settled in San Diego, where Trevor was born 29 years ago.
Through high school, college, then the pros, Richard was always watching and always keeping score.
“I think he’s kept score since I was in T-ball,” noted Trevor. “He’s got scorebooks going back years. The consistency that he has shown, showing up to games, is something I don’t take for granted.”
But in the fall of 2015, with Trevor in Triple-A, Richard wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be able to show up.
“I just wanted to make it to Thanksgiving that year, let alone Spring Training or anything else.”
Diagnosed with double B-cell lymphoma, Richard was given 60-90 days to live. He went through months of in-patient chemo and radiation.
One year later, on September 7th, 2016, he was in the stands in Pittsburgh for Trevor’s Major League debut.
“I’m the luckiest guy alive,” remarked Richard. “I watch the sunrise and I wink at the sunset. I use the Game of Thrones reference when I wink at that sunset. ‘Not today. God of Death you did not get me today.’”
More than five years out from defying his diagnosis, Richard never wants to miss another chance to keep score for his son.
“I quit trying to be the richest man in the cemetery.”
Williams sold an apartment building, so he could pay to follow Trevor around the country.
“I’m going watch Trevor pitch every game this year that he pitches. Thirty to thirty-one starts, I’m going to go to them all. I’m going to be there. I want to be there. I don’t know how long he’s going to pitch. I don’t know if today’s his last day, but I want to be there watching him pitch his last pitch. Hopefully, God willing, I’ll be there.”
For Trevor to take the mound for his dad’s childhood team, makes every scorebook he keeps even more special.
“They’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time – really from the day that there was interest that there was going to be an opportunity to potentially put on the Cubs’ uniform,” Trevor explained. “It’s just a really special moment for my family and I. We’re thankful they were able to be in the stands. They are my rocks and they’re something I really cherish.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my son would play for the Chicago Cubs.”
But he does, and Richard won’t let anything stop him from watching Trevor suit up for the North Siders.