Broad Street Billy: 2 Billys share love of the game, though baseball worlds apart

Bill and Jacquie Williams: He's Sox, she's Phils. They said it wouldn't last.
Bill and Jacquie Williams: He's Sox, she's Phils. They said it wouldn't last. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff photographer)
Posted: July 01, 2011

GUY CALLED and said, "Broad Street Billy? This is Boston Red Sox Bill."

Met him at yesterday's game. True to his 1950s' Fenway Park childhood, BoSox Billy Williams, 66, still bleeds Sox red, 39 years after falling for a Bridesburg girl and settling in Northeast Philadelphia for good.

"Many moons ago," said his lovely wife, Jacquie (Cole Hamels jersey), "when Bill came along with his love of baseball, my father - who had three daughters, all cellists - thought he'd gone to heaven because he finally had someone to go to ballgames with.

"But I had aunts who thought Bill was too wild for a good Catholic girl like me. They bet our marriage wouldn't last six months."

"Ha, ha!" said BoSox Bill. "Been married 39 years. I'll do anything to win a bet."

He said that he missed those 1950s summers when he'd hear radios all over Revere Beach broadcasting Curt Gowdy announcing Red Sox games, when centerfielder Jimmy Piersall tossed balls into the stands to kids like him, when Ted Williams homered "right into my hands" and later signed the ball, "To Bill Williams. Your pal, Ted Williams."

Jacquie said, "When we first got married, kids on our street would come by and ask me, 'Can your boy come out and play?' I'd say, 'My boy? You mean my husband, Bill?' They'd say, 'Yeah. Can Bill come out and play?' "

The couple laughed with such mutual affection that Broad Street Billy - a Phillies die-hard and a sentimental fool - got a little moist around the eyes, said goodbye and headed to Ashburn Alley, where he found:

FLYING BEER, FLOWING TEARS: When Boston broke a scoreless tie in the fifth, engaged thirtysomethings Missy O'Donnell (Kevin Youkilis jersey) and Aja Caroll (Jacoby Ellsbury jersey), of Delaware County, started leading like-minded left-field fans in "Let's go Sox!" cheers - inspiring a storm of beer, pretzels and F-bombs to rain down upon them.

"A huge guy threatened to punch me in the face," Caroll said.

Security guards hustled the besieged couple into Ashburn Alley.

When O'Donnell realized that she was about to be ejected, she burst into tears, melting the hearts of security guards, who whisked the lovebirds away to other seats.

O'Donnell remained emotionally fragile, while Caroll cheered Sox homers that drove a 5-2 stake through the Phillies' hearts.

"We're going to be married in September," she said tearfully, showing Broad Street Billy a swell diamond ring. "I've never been kicked out of anywhere. We weren't hurting anyone. I mean, we were just cheering."

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