CHICAGO — Billy Williams is a beloved figure among Chicago Cubs fans. His No. 26 was retired by the team in 1987, a tribute to the Hall of Famer, who played at the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field for 16 of his 18 major-league seasons.
The team’s attempt to honor the sweet-swinging Hall of Famer with a bobblehead promotion went sour on Saturday, as the Cubs handed out 10,000 of them -- with the wrong uniform number.
The bobblehead depicted Williams, now 84, wearing No. 1 on his jersey, WFLD-TV reported.
In case team officials missed the point, fans on social media noted -- sarcastically, in most cases -- that Williams’ No. 26 flew from a flagpole at Wrigley Field.
The team issued a statement after Saturday’s game with the Cincinnati Reds, apologizing for the “regrettable error,” according to NBC Sports.
“Tonight, we made a regrettable error by distributing Hall of Famer Billy Williams bobbleheads to fans with the incorrect number,” Julian Green, the Cubs’ senior vice president of communication, said in a statement. “This should have never happened, and we know many fans will be disappointed. We are in the process of having new bobbleheads made so fans will have an opportunity to exchange the item.”
Williams, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, hit 392 home runs and drove in 1,353 runs in 16 seasons with the Cubs. He played in Chicago from 1959 to 1974. He finished his career in Oakland, playing the 1975 and 1976 seasons with the Athletics. He finished his career with 426 home runs and 1,475 RBI, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Green said it might take a year to get the corrected bobbleheads, due to shipping and manufacturing.
The Cubs lost to the Reds 8-5 on Saturday night -- and also on Sunday.