Dick Williams

Richard Hirschfeld Williams
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 2008
Primary team: Montreal Expos
Primary position: Manager

Richard Hirschfield “Dick” Williams had a nice career on the field for a variety of Major League ball clubs, at a number of spots all across the diamond during his 13 year playing career. However it was in the dugout, using his mind as a baseball manager, that he would earn his spot among baseball’s immortals.

Dick Williams proved to be one of baseball’s best managers at turning a team’s fortunes around. It all started when he inherited the Boston Red Sox in 1967, a team that had finished next to last the previous season. Not much was expected of the Sox, but Williams surprised the baseball world and led them to an “impossible dream”-- coming within one win of a World Series championship. "We didn't know how to study the game," explained Red Sox first baseman George Scott, "Dick Showed us how to do it. He pressed the right buttons for everyone on that team".

Williams took over the Oakland Athletics after their second place finish in 1970 and led them to the American League pennant. He followed that up with two straight World Series championships, which prompted eccentric A’s owner Charlie Finley to proclaim “Dick Williams is the best manager I've ever had. I ought to know. I've fired enough of them”.

Finley wasn’t the only owner enamored with Williams. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner thought so much of Williams, he tried to hire him twice, unsuccessfully—once after he had a falling out with Charlie Finley and Finley wouldn’t let him out of his contract, and once again after the tragic death of Billy Martin in 1989, at which point Williams declared himself “too old to manage again”.

Dick Williams had a captious personality that didn’t sit well with everyone, “I don’t want to mellow,” Williams explained, “I’d rather be known as a winner and a poor loser.” As time went on however, he did seem to mellow. In his final season as skipper of the Seattle Mariners, outfielder Mike Kingery explained “He's been great to me and other players. Very positive. When we do something well, he tells us. And when we do something wrong, he encourages us".

Upon his retirement from the game it took Williams 20 years to earn election to the Hall of Fame, an honor that fellow Class of 2008 inductee Goose Gossage felt was long overdue “I was elated to see Dick got in, he deserved it. He's one of the best managers of all-time, in my opinion, and he's the best manager I've ever played for. And that's taking in some great managers."

"He got rid of all the individuality, made us into a team, gave us an incentive and made us want to win. "
Carl Yastrzemski

Career stats

Year Inducted: 2008
Primary Team: Montreal Expos
Position Played: Manager
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: St. Louis, Missouri
Birth year: 1929
Died: 2011, Henderson, Nevada
Boston Red Sox (1967-1969)
Oakland Athletics (1971-1973)
LA/California Angels (1974-1976)
Montreal Expos (1977-1981)
San Diego Padres (1982-1985)
Seattle Mariners (1986-1988)
Winning %Winning %