Hall of Fame Manager Dick Williams Passes at Age 82

July 07, 2011
Dick Williams was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY: Dick Williams, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 following a 21-year managerial career, passed away on Thursday due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nev. He was 82.

Williams won four pennants and two World Series titles during his career, including back-to-back championships with the Oakland A's in 1972-73.

"We are extremely saddened by the sudden loss of Dick Williams, a Hall of Fame manager whose commitment to the game was legendary," said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "He was an intense leader on the field and a gracious member of the Hall of Fame family, who loved returning to Cooperstown. His participation, just two weeks ago, at our Father's Day Hall of Fame Classic gave fans and fellow Hall of Famers great memories as he managed both teams at Doubleday Field. Our thoughts are with his wife, Norma, at this very difficult time."

Born May 7, 1929 in St. Louis, Mo., Williams, who was raised in St. Louis and in Southern California, began his big league playing career as an outfielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. After 13 seasons with the Dodgers, Orioles, Indians, Athletics and Red Sox, Williams retired as a player following the 1964 season. By 1967, Williams was managing the Red Sox – and leading a former ninth-place club to the American League pennant that season.

It would be the first of many turnarounds for Williams, whose specialty was quickly reviving the fortunes of struggling franchises.

"Dick Williams' lasting legacy will be his innate ability to lead, turning franchises into winners wherever he managed," said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. "No one wore the mantle of 'Hall of Famer' more proudly than Dick. We will miss him in Cooperstown."

Williams remained with the Red Sox until the 1969 season, then took over the Oakland A's in 1971. In Oakland, Williams led the A's to three American League West titles, two AL pennants and two World Series championships.

Williams managed the California Angels from 1974-76 and built the Montreal Expos into a pennant contender during his five seasons (1977-81) north of the border. Taking over the San Diego Padres in 1982, Williams turned around yet another franchise – leading San Diego to its first National League pennant in 1984. He remained with the Padres through the 1985 season, piloting the Seattle Mariners from 1986-88 before calling it a career.

Williams was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2008. His most recent public appearance in Cooperstown came on Father's Day, June 19, when he managed both teams at the Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field in a legends contest featuring six Hall of Famers and 20 former major league stars.

Funeral services will not be held.