The National Baseball Hall of Fame Remembers Dick Williams

Hall of Fame Manager Passed Away Thursday at age 82

July 07, 2011
Dick Williams was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the honor being bestowed on me here today." -- Dick Williams, at his Hall of Fame Induction in 2008

Dick Williams’ Hall of Fame plaque (elected, 2008)

Richard Hirschfeld Williams
“Dick
Boston A.L. 1967-69, Oakland A.L. 1971-73
California A.L. 1974-76, Montreal N.L. 1977-81
San Diego N.L. 1982-85, Seattle A.L. 1986-88

An intense competitor and fiery leader noted for turning underperforming teams into winners. Led his clubs to 90 or more wins seven times, captured consecutive World Series championships with Oakland in 1972-1973. Second manager in history to lead three different clubs to the World Series, winning four pennants overall. Gained early fame for transforming ninth-place Red Sox into “Impossible Dream” 1967 American League champions. Piloted Padres to first World Series in 1984. Career 1,571-1,451 record in 21 managerial seasons.

Dick Williams Bio

Born: May 7, 1929 at St. Louis, Missouri
Height: 6-0 Weight: 190
Batted right and threw right

Dick Williams specialized in turning losers into winners, and he did it often enough to earn a place in Cooperstown. Following a 13-year big league playing career that ended in Boston after the 1964 season, Williams spent two seasons managing in Triple-A before being named the Red Sox’s manager in 1967. The rookie skipper led the Sox to their Impossible Dream season, going from ninth place the year before to an AL pennant. He took over the Oakland A’s in 1971 and led them to three AL West titles, two league pennants and two World Series championships in three seasons. After a stint with the Angels, he turned the Expos into consistent winners before heading for San Diego, where in 1984 he led the Padres to their first NL pennant. He finished with 1,571 victories over a 21-year managerial career.

Remembering Dick Williams

“We are extremely saddened by the sudden loss of Dick Williams, a Hall of Fame manager whose commitment to the game was legendary. 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.” – Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman, Baseball Hall of Fame

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

QUOTES ABOUT DICK WILLIAMS

Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski: “One of the best managers I ever played for. His leadership in 1967 was very instrumental in accomplishing The Impossible Dream.”

Hall of Famer Andre Dawson: “Vanessa, I and the family express our deepest condolences to Norma and the rest of his family. Just seeing him a couple of weeks ago in Cooperstown, he was Dick being Dick. Personally, he allowed me as a young ball player to play the game. He never put me in any pressure situations where I felt like I'd be intimidated. Dick was always tagged as a tough guy, but he always wanted me to play to the best of my ability. Dick allowed me to do that. He never called me out, and just once he called me into his office, and said go out and have fun and enjoy the game for what it is.”

Hall of Famer Goose Gossage: “It was all business on Dick's side, and that's what I really loved about Dick Williams. No nonsense, absolutely no nonsense. What you saw is what you got, and that's what I loved about Dick.”

Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan: “Dick Williams was a good baseball man who knew the game as well as anyone I ever played for. He had a lot of success in getting the best out of his ballclubs and did that over a lot of years.”

QUOTES FROM DICK WILLIAMS

“They said they would call and let me know the results around 7 a.m. Then 7 a.m. came, no call. At 7:01, no call. At 7:02, my wife and I looked at each other, no call. Between 7:02 and 7:03 the phone rang and it blew our minds. We’re just so thankful. Norma and I broke down and cried.” – on his election to the Hall of Fame

“My injury forced me to watch, to listen, to learn every tiny detail about this game that once I could play in my sleep. Because if I ever wanted to play it again, I could no longer be faster or stronger than anyone. Now I had to be smarter.” – following his shoulder injury in 1952

"This team was basically 25 versions of me. The score after nine innings was their only interest.” – on his 1972-73 World Champion Oakland A’s