COOPERSTOWN, N.Y., JULY 25 -- Billy Williams remembers his last visit to the baseball Hall of Fame. He went looking for the scorecard that marked his 1,000th consecutive game and couldn't find it.
"There was nothing else in there about me. That was it," Williams said. "It was something that made me a part of the Hall of Fame. I finally asked about it and after an hour or so was told they had lost it."
Williams, the "Sweet Swinger" and the iron man of the Chicago Cubs, won't have to worry about his place in the hall anymore. Nor will pitcher Jim (Catfish) Hunter and third baseman Ray Dandridge, who join Williams Sunday as the newest members enshrined.
"When they say, 'You are now officially inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame,' it's final," said Williams, who jokingly added: "I know they keep track of the plaques."
Williams, the National League's rookie of the year in 1961, was voted into the hall in his sixth year on the ballot. The left-handed hitting outfielder played 16 seasons with Chicago and two with Oakland, finishing with 426 home runs and a .290 career batting average. He hit a league-leading .333 in 1972. Williams, 49 and now a Cubs batting coach, held the NL record for consecutive games with 1,117 until Steve Garvey broke it in 1983 en route to 1,207.
Hunter, 224-166 in 15 seasons, said, "I want them to remember Jim Hunter as the guy who went out and pitched whenever the manager wanted -- the guy who wanted to stay out there and pitch, throw strikes and not offer excuses when he gave up home runs."
Hunter, 41, who got his nickname from Oakland owner Charlie Finley, said the accomplishment in which he takes most pride is his five consecutive seasons of winning 20 or more games. He pitched a perfect game in 1968, won the American League's Cy Young award in 1974 with a 25-12 record and 2.49 ERA, and will be remembered for the bidding war he started when he left the A's and signed with the New York Yankees for an estimated $2.85 million.
For Dandridge, 73, a longtime Negro League star, selection is compensation for never realizing another dream: "I always wanted to say I came out of the cornfields and got to the major leagues. That was my biggest dream. Now I can say I came out of the cornfields and got to the Hall of Fame."