Williams' Cubs debut 'special for my family'

Right-hander takes perfect game into 6th with his proud dad scoring in stands

April 6th, 2021

CHICAGO -- walked off the mound on Monday night, giving an emphatic point to his catcher following a crucial double play to end the sixth. In the stands, Williams' dad, scorebook in hand, celebrated with high fives with those around him.

It was a storybook evening for Williams, who flirted with history in his Cubs debut.

“Just a really special moment for my family,” Williams said.

In a 5-3 victory over the rival Brewers, Williams carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and walked off the mound in the seventh to a rousing standing ovation from the crowd. Among the family members on hand was his father, Richard, who grew up in Chicago and had dreamt of seeing this day come for his son.

For five brilliant innings, Williams brought back memories of Don Cardwell, who spun a no-hitter in his Cubs debut on May 15, 1960. Sixty-one years later, Williams' bid was ended when Omar Narváez sent a pitch bouncing up the third-base line to open the seventh with a shift-defying single.

With his two other sons beside him in the stands, Richard Williams would surely have loved to have filled out a no-hitter in that scorebook. Regardless, he got to scribble a “W” next to his son’s name in the ballpark where he once worked as an usher during his high school days in the 1970s.

As the story goes, as an eighth grader, Richard once cut school to head to Wrigley Field, where he got to watch Ernie Banks launch his 500th home run on May 12, 1970.

“Today was a beautiful day,” the elder Williams said during the Marquee Sports Network broadcast. “He'll be emotional about this one. He put a lot into this start. And I’m so thankful the Cubs grabbed him. I'm so grateful that I got to see him.”

Richard Williams grew up near 45th and Cicero on the city’s South Side and went to Brother Rice High School. His career as an attorney eventually took him to San Diego, where Trevor grew up a Padres fan. But, Richard made sure his son knew all about the Cubs, so when Chicago showed interest in the righty in free agency over the offseason, things got exciting in the Williams family.

“They've been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” Trevor Williams said with a smile. “Really, from the day that there was interest, that there was going to be an opportunity to potentially put on the Cubs uniform.”

Richard Williams made plenty of treks to watch his son pitch at Arizona State and continued to do the same when he pitched for the Pirates. This spring, while Williams trained with the Cubs in Arizona, his dad made the drive a few times from California to watch him start a Cactus League game or log a batting practice session.

During Spring Training, Trevor Williams quipped that his dad does not like accepting tickets from his son.

“I don't know if that's just a dad thing,” Williams said last month. “Whether he's sitting on a rooftop across the street or sitting at a bar in Chicago, he'll find a way [to be there].”

For his Cubs debut, Trevor Williams found another way.

“Jason Heyward and his wife offered my family his tickets,” Trevor Williams said. “I said, 'I'm not getting you tickets, but the Heywards want to give you tickets, is that OK?' And he said, 'Of course.'”

After Narváez delivered Milwaukee’s first hit, the Brewers went on to load the bases in the sixth with one out. Williams escaped with a slider low in the zone to Keston Hiura, who rolled over the pitch. Third baseman Matt Duffy gloved the ball and initiated an inning-ending double play that fired up the Friendly Confines.

“It's pretty spectacular how he handled the moment,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Williams. “Making that big pitch and getting that double play was huge, and watching him show some emotion on the field fired me up, that's for sure.”

Home runs by Willson Contreras, Javier Báez and David Bote against lefty Brett Anderson in the fourth inning gave Williams the support he required for his first Cubs win. The righty went six-plus innings, in which he struck out six and allowed just two hits. The two runs on Williams’ line came after his exit via a Narváez homer off of Jason Adam.

As things stand, Williams would be lined up to make his next start in Pittsburgh over the coming weekend. Expect his dad to be back in the stands, scorebook in tow.

“I think he's kept score since I was in Tee-ball,” Williams said. “The consistency that he has shown showing up to games is something that I don't take for granted, ever. I'm just really thankful that my brothers were able to come out as well and see this.

“Just knowing that I've always got a fan -- at least one fan -- in the stands when I'm pitching, is something that I cherish.”