If you check out the Baseball Almanac, you’ll note that there has been only one baseball player in history who was born in Park Ridge, Illinois. That distinction belongs to Peter Bourjos, who played for the Phillies in 2016 and ironically went to school right here in Scottsdale, Arizona. The odds of becoming a major league baseball player aren’t much better than of winning the MegaMillions (or shall we say MegaBillions?) lottery tonight, but Luke Williams, born in Park Ridge and raised in California (he left Park Ridge when he was four but still has alot of family in the Midwest), is giving it his best shot.
Amiable with a smile that could melt ice, Luke makes a great first impression. But nice guys don’t necessarily finish first in baseball. A 3rd round draft choice of The Fightins in 2015, Luke struggled in short A ball and at Lakewood. To his credit, he performed considerably better in Clearwater and the Phils no doubt brought him to Arizona to see if he’s ready to go the next level. A third baseman for the Threshers last year, he’s playing exclusively in the outfield this fall.
Baseball is an unforgiving sport. Luke had a rough time of it today, going 0 for 5 at the plate, and when you walk through the dugout after an unproductive out no one gives you a second look. In fact you’re entirely ignored as part of the “etiquette” of the game.
You would never know that, however, based on Luke’s demeanor after the game. He graciously came over to the stands and signed a ball that Miriam will be taking along with her in a couple of days when she visits our little league-playing grandson who lives in … Park Ridge, Illinois.
There’s a bit more to the story. We got the ball for Luke to sign courtesy of Robin, a fellow Phillies fan and transplanted Philadelphian, who brings her glove to every game. And if you have any doubt about the commitment to her club, just take a look at the front license plate on Robin’s car. 🙂