Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MLB St.Louisian Dick Williams


This long delayed and I hope much anticipated edition of MLB Players from the STL is dedicated to St. Louisian and long time player/manager Dick Williams.

Richard Hirschfeld "Dick" Williams was born in STL on May 7, 1929 and grew up there and Pasadena-two fine cities I must say. Dick was signed to his first pro contract with the then Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 but didn’t get into his first game in the majors until 1951. Because of a shoulder injury he learned to play several different positions but was most often at first or third base. Over 13 seasons with the Dodgers, Orioles, Indians, KC A’s, and the Red sox he played in 1,023 games, had 2,959 Abs, scored 358 runs, had 768 hits, 70 home runs, 331 RBIs, 227 Walks, 392 Ks, career .260 average, .312 OBP%, and a slugging % of .392. Let us say he wasn’t known for his play but for his managerial legacy from 1967-1969, and 1971-1988. During this time his teams won three AL pennants, one NL pennant, and two World Series.


In 1967 he began managing the Red Sox and would bring the Sox to faced my Redbirds in the 1967 World Series, the first WS during my lifetime-granted I was three months old, where Bob Gibson won three times and continued “the curse”. In 1968 the Sox landed in 4th place and at the end of the ’69 season he was fired. From the Sox he went on to manage the Oakland A’s to two Word Series in 1972 and 1973. Upset with some issues with the owner he resigned after the ’73 season and was hired by the Yankees to manage but he “owed” the A’s another year and the Yankees hired former Redbird Bill Virdon instead.
Next up for Dick was the CA Angels where things didn’t go so well and the last place Halos never really took to him and his managerial style so he was fired on my birthday, July 22, 1976. A story about his time there is which a hoot is that he once had his team conduct batting practice with only wiffle balls and bats in their hotel to show them how weak they were and couldn’t even hit the ball out of the lobby. That is humiliating but absolutely funny. In 1977 he went over the NL and managed the Expos. He helped turn around an awful 107 loss team into a contender and could have went far but for the two powerhouses of the Keystone State-Pennsylvania in 1979 and 1980. In 1981 he was fired again after the team began to falter-and again his managerial style was an issue.


Back to Southern California he headed in 1982 when he began the Padres manager. He led the Padres of the Cubbies into the World Series where they would loose to the Tigers. He would stay in San Diego until just before the 1986 season when he was fired. Dick was brought in has a replacement manager by the Mariners in the first part of the 1986 season only to be replaced by the Mariners in June of 1988. Following this tenure with the Mariners he would coach in the Senior League and the minors but never again in the bigs. His managerial record over 21 seasons was 1571 wins and 1451 loses with a winning percentage of .520. He won 4 Pennants and 2 World Series Titles in those 21 season.


Dick was inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27, 2008. Dick died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nevada on July 7, 2011.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, anytime I can show some Padres cards with the best uniforms ever I will.

    ReplyDelete