Billy Williams and Don Kessinger were the only '69 Cubs with the team in 1974. After the season, Don Kessinger was the last man standing.
My favorite Cub was no longer a Cub as of October 23, 1974. He was now an A. It was front page news. It was the lead article of the sports page. It was a dark day.
Billy wanted to play for a winner before he retired. That wasn't going to happen with the rebuilding (and pretty lousy) Cubs. The A's were the reigning three-time World Champs. He would also have a chance to be a DH, which at his age made sense.
On paper it was a deal that needed to be made. In my head it stunk. But life moves on and so did Billy.
Because the trade was made so early in the off-season, Topps had time to whip up an airbrushed card of Billy.
I remember getting that card in 1975. It was a jarring sight.
The Cubs got three players in return.
Knowles and Trillo both got the airbrush treatment. Locker escaped the airbrush because he was with the Cubs in 1973. Topps just used a two-year-old picture.