Luke Williams has been the talk of the town for his dramatic walk-off home run on Wednesday night. The two-run blast, the first of Williams’ career, came in his second big-league game and first start, and lifted the Phillies to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
The Phillies won again in walk-off fashion on Thursday to overtake the Braves for second place in the NL East. After stroking the game-winning hit, Jean Segura credited the momentum that Williams helped build the night before for the team's ability to come from two runs down in the bottom of the 10th and win, 4-3.
Williams wasn’t alone for his game-winning home run Wednesday night. He was joined by Andrew McCutchen, who drew a huge, eight-pitch walk to get on base two batters before the home run, and 13,552 of his newest best friends.
What’s the saying? Philadelphia loves a winner. Yeah, that’s it. And they sure loved Luke Williams on Wednesday night. Though that crowd of 13,552 was the second smallest in the history of the ballpark (when open at full capacity), the eruption made it sound like the place was full.
Behind home plate, Williams’ family — mom, dad and two siblings — soaked it all in.
What an incredible feeling it must be to see a loved one become the subject of such adulation in the blink of an eye.
“Indescribable. Amazing,” Mark Williams said the day after his son’s heroics. “It’s every parent’s dream to see your kid do something like that.”
Mark and his wife Jeannine, daughter Sami and son Ike, made it to Philadelphia on Tuesday for Luke’s big-league debut. Another brother, Jake, could not make it in.
The Williamses hail from Orange County, California and will get to see Luke play closer to home in the coming week when the Phillies visit Dodger Stadium. In the meantime, the family rearranged their flights and is staying in Philadelphia through the weekend to watch the Yankees series.
Mark Williams has loved baseball his entire life and knows a thing or two about how things work.
He mentioned the need for having a short memory.
“Forget the bad stuff – and the good stuff – and focus on what’s ahead,” he said. “Hopefully Luke gets to stay up here and help the team for a good amount of time.”
Luke Williams was the Phillies’ third-round draft pick in 2015. He passed on a chance to play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to sign with the Phillies.
It was a long journey to the big leagues. He played part or all of six seasons in the minors before finally getting to the majors two months before his 25th birthday. He missed a minor-league season because of the pandemic and made up some time by playing in Australia over the winter.
Williams, who can play anywhere in the infield or outfield, was never considered a top prospect. In fact, he was never on the 40-man roster before this week and passed untouched through two Rule 5 drafts.
Turns out that had its benefits. By not being on the 40-man roster, he was eligible to play for Team USA in the Olympic qualifying tournament over the last few weeks. He was selected for that team after tearing it up at Triple A Lehigh Valley and proceeded to tear it up for Team USA. All of this helped him land a spot in the majors with the Phillies.
“It’s a grind,” Mark Williams said. “He had those years where he’d get off to a rough start and bat .100 for a month, but we always had faith that he was doing what he loved to do. He always had fun on the field, so we knew that if you’re going to make a career out of this, you have to bring it and have fun every day because you’re going to have bad days. He was able to kind of persevere through all of that.”
And now he’s been part of two Phillies wins.
A big part.
Check out more of Luke Williams’ story through the words of his parents here.