In late August, Phillies outfielder Nick Williams was noticeably absent from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  August 29, 30, and 31 Williams was not in the IronPigs dugout.  September 1, when rosters expanded, Williams was not immediately added to the Philadelphia roster, either; he was added September 2.  Today, we learned the reason: he was burying his brother, Rudy Williams.

Matt Gelb of the Athletic penned a piece published on Sunday (subscription required, but highly recommended) that looked deep into Nick Williams, his tough season, and the personal struggles he faced.during the 2019 season.  Williams reflected upon who his brother meant to him:

“When you’re younger, you want to do everything your older brother does,” Williams said. “He’s seven years older than me. He ran track. He played football and baseball. I can’t say he was very good at track or football. I was the one good at those. But he was good at baseball. Growing up, I was always on the back fields running around with the other guys’ little brothers with our bats and balls.”

The obituary for Rudy Renee Williams described him as follows:

Rudy loved playing baseball as a youth and was a very skilled player according to his proud dad.  Because of his patience and love of baseball, he helped his dad coach his brothers and was so excited when he volunteered to do the same for his son’s team. Rudy cherished his brothers and was one of the best big brother that always took time out for his little brothers, especially teaching them his video skills. Being born on the island near the Gulf of Mexico, it became natural for Rudy to become an avid fisherman. Rudy enjoyed the simple things in life like, spending time on the beach, listening to the peaceful waves of the ocean and he frequent as many restaurants as he could because he loved to eat. Rudy was also a monster truck enthusiast and he loved riding motorcycles. Before Rudy would leave your presence, he would always say how much he loved his family. He was the proud father to three beautiful children and was always striving to do better and be better for them.

Williams leaves behind a large family, including three children of his own.

Nick Williams has played sparingly since he returned to the Phillies, appearing once as a pinch hitter on September 2 and then as a pinch runner 17 days later.  His future in Philly is uncertain.  But as Gelb notes, Williams is getting married this offseason and also taking on the new role of oldest brother, which he hopes to do in place of Rudy.

Read Gelb's full piece here.