It took very little time for Billy Williams to establish himself as a regular player once he got the opportunity in 1961.
As a rookie, Williams played in 146 of the team’s 162 games. During those games, he solidified himself as a talented hitter and became the team’s everyday left fielder.
The numbers Williams put up in his first full major league season were impressive. Billy Williams collected 147 hits while batting .278. He also hit 20 doubles, 25 home runs, drove in 86 runs, and scored 75 times. With 584 plate appearances, Williams showed a lot of poise for a rookie as he only struck out 70 times while drawing 45 walks.
Billy Williams’ great year was capped by winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Of the 16 first place votes, he gathered 10 of them as he outdistanced Milwaukee’s Joe Torre who finished in a distant second place.