Williams' family taking it in: 'So proud of him'

June 10th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA --  had approximately 350 unread text messages on his phone late Wednesday night.

But then again, everybody’s phone in the Williams family buzzed Wednesday. It continued Thursday morning, too.

Williams hit a two-out, two-run walk-off home run in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He is the first player in Phillies history to hit a walk-off home run in his first big league start, and the fourth player in franchise history to hit a walk-off shot for his first career homer. So yeah, everybody in Williams’ world knew about his incredible home run, and everybody wanted to tell somebody how awesome it was.

Fortunately, his father Mark, mother Jeannine, sister Sami and brother Ike saw it live.

“It’s been awesome,” Mark said Thursday morning. “We were talking about it, hoping he’d get an opportunity to get an at-bat there at the end and help the team win. So yeah, it was pretty exciting.”

What a week for Williams and what a week for his family. Williams helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics on Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He got the call on Monday that he was being promoted to the Majors. He got a hit in his first big league at-bat on Tuesday. He doubled for the first extra-base hit of his career in the fourth inning on Wednesday.

Then, the walk-off.

After the family celebrated in the stands, they got to hug Williams on the field.

“I think that’s every dad’s dream, right?” Mark said. “It’s every parent’s dream to be able to see your kid do something like that. Obviously, it came really quick in his Major League timeframe, but not only did we get to follow Luke this year, we got to follow Sami who played softball at Iowa State and she was just named first-team All-American. That was pretty exciting and they made the NCAA tournament for the first time, so it has been a crazy spring. So exciting, so exciting.”

“I get very emotional, but I’m just so proud of him,” Jeannine said. “He has worked so hard.”

After Team USA qualified for the Olympics on Saturday, Mark and Jeannine took a 6 a.m. flight on Sunday from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles. Williams told them about his promotion on Monday evening and asked if they thought they could make the game on Tuesday. They grabbed a few random Williams Phillies jerseys, stuffed them in a suitcase and got on the first flight out of LAX on Tuesday morning.

Sami, who just graduated from Iowa State, took the first flight out of Des Moines. Ike flew from Utah.

“We wouldn’t miss it for anything,” Mark said.

Asked what they will remember most from the week, other than the home run, Mark did not hesitate.

“I think his first at-bat Tuesday, the bunt,” he said. “There was a lot of discussion: 'Did they tell him to do that? Did he do it on his own?' So I asked him. He said, 'I saw them playing back, so ...' Just to have that moment. And it was the first pitch, so it was like -- that, we'll never forget. It was just the first time that he got to participate in a Major League game. Then, this was pretty crazy. We were hoping, after that first strikeout, I'm like, 'Man, I hope he gets a hit next time up.' Fortunately, he did.”

Mark thought it was a homer off the bat.

“Baseball is such a great game, just for a moment like that,” he said. “You never know. Sami has hit a few in her career and she always runs hard because you don’t know, but that one was like, ‘Go baby.’”