Partner Event: Billy Williams Tribute at the St. Paul Saints Game June 10

Billy Williams Tribute at the St. Paul Saints Game

Saturday, June 10, 2023
During pregame festivities beginning at 6 pm

St. Paul Saints 

CHS Field

360 N Broadway St, St. Paul, MN

In 1904, Billy Williams would have been happy making a living playing baseball. He loved the sport. He was good at it and was frequently asked to play for many regional teams. Perhaps he could have gone farther—but for the color of his skin. He knew an offer in the big leagues was an impossible dream. That’s when a different offer came along. The newly elected Minnesota Governor John A. Johnson had watched the ballplayer for years. Johnson was impressed with Williams’ leadership skills and asked the twenty-seven-year-old to work as his messenger at the capitol. Neither man could have imagined that Williams would serve fourteen governors over fifty-two years. He welcomed guests to the reception room, gave tours of the capitol building, and stood as gatekeeper between his bosses and the public. It’s also likely he was asked his opinion about issues of race on occasion. And, of course, while he was still young, Williams continued to play ball—on weekends and vacation—much to his delight.

Local author Frank M. White has written a new article about Billy Williams for Ramsey County History magazine. In addition, the St. Paul Saints will pay tribute to Mr. Williams at an upcoming game on June 10th. Get your tickets now and be sure to get there early for the honor during pregame festivities.

And, bonus, if you want to learn more about the governors Mr. Williams served, check out our March of the Governors podcasts, beginning with our sixteenth governor, John A. Johnson.