Fiery and well-travelled Major League and Hall-of-Fame manager Dick Williams (technically Richard Hirschfeld Williams) has passed on. He came up as a mediocre player for the Brooklyn Dodgers and started out his managing career as a Red Sox, but I’ll forgive him that (the moustache makes up for a lot).
But the Red Sox would not be his last or best team, let alone mark his last visit to the World Series. Fired by Boston at the tail end of the ’69 season — in part for his authoritarian tendencies as a skipper — Williams went to Oakland and took over as the firm hand perhaps perfectly suited to run the rowdies and rebels of the Big Green Machine dynasty of the early ’70s. The A’s won consecutive World Series on his watch in ’72 and ’73 before winning a third in a row under his replacement, Alvin Dark. After dealing with larger-than-life personalities like Reggie Jackson and Vida Blue on the field and team owner Charlie Finley off it, he finally resigned over team owner Finley’s meddlesome, disgraceful attempt to humiliate and deactivate Mike Andrews for poor fielding during the course of the ’73 Series.
The A’s were followed by the Angels, Expos, Padres and Mariners. The teams weren’t always that good, but Dick Williams was the real deal. Rest in peace.