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L E’s Stories – Dateline: July 7, 2011 – Salute To A Real Hall Of Fame Dick – The Story Of Mgr Dick Williams

On July 7, 2011, Baseball Hall Of Fame Manager Dick Williams passed away…..and since I have often heard Bone Daddy talk about the night that he sat for a couple of hours talking with “Skip” at the downstairs bar at Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place at 302 E. 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas. It was such an enjoyable conversation with such an outstanding baseball mind….that it left a lasting impression on BD…..so, I decided to write a story in recognition of Dick Williams’ career…..while reviewing and remembering the conversation at the bar with Williams back in 1979….for it certainly is a story worth telling.                                                                                                                                                               

MLB – 1951 – 1988 – Special – Remembering Dick Williams Hall Of Fame Career

 

Dick Williams was an American left fielder, third baseman, manager, coach and front office consultant in Major League Baseball…. who was known especially as a hard-driving, sharp-tongued manager from 1967 to 1969 and from 1971 to 1988….as he led teams to three American League pennants….one National League pennant….and two World Series championships. He is one of eight managers to win pennants in both major leagues….while joining Bill McKechnie in becoming only the second manager to lead three different franchises to the World Series…..plus, he and Lou Piniella are the only managers in history to lead four teams to seasons of 90 or more wins…..and for all of this, Williams was inducted into the Nationall Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 following his election by the Veterans Committee.  Bone Daddy still quotes “Skip” from that night at the bar….“Playing baseball without fundamentals is like eating without a knife and fork….you make a mess.  We’won championships with good defense and great pitching.”                                                                                                                                                                          

MLB – 1981 – Special – Manager Dick Williams Fired From Montreal Expos

It was the winter of 1979 and BD was winding down a long day at MSG doing paperwork in the office.  It was around 11pm on a slow (no major live sporting event) Wednesday night….when his bartender, Paris London…..rated by  many of BD’s regular clients to be his best draw of the whole place….and since many of the HUMAN MALE clients felt that way….it proved out by the nightly sales on production to be true.  As BD put it….”she wasn’t the prettiest candle on the cake….except when facing the other way….cuz that’s when she entered the world of whiskey and fantasies in those tight blue jeans.” …..as BD would often refer to Paris ….as the gal whose legs started at the floor with cute little feet and petite little ankles….which worked their way upward into a stunning pair of shapely silky smooth legs….that ended up making an ass of themselves….as he was talking about one of the finest “baby got back” as has ever been viewed, graded or fantasized about.  What a great way to say she had what we dogs call a “great tail section”.                                                                                                                                                                               

MLB – 1872 – Special World Series Highlights – Cincinnati Reds Vs Oakland A’s

 

So, on this particular night that Paris is working….she calls BD on the intercom to ask him if he can come to the downstairs bar to meet with….as she described….a “gruff demanding outspoken customer” …..who wanted to meet the owner of “this sports haven.”  As BD came off the stairs and rounded the corner in view of the downstairs bar on a night when there were only five  (5) customers sitting at the bar….four (4) of which were regulars who BD knew…..with the 5th being a man sitting at the end of the bar drinking a frosted mug of cold draft beer.  The man was a 50 something with distinctive salt and pepper hair and a thick mustache with a really good tan….whose identity at this point remained unrecognizable to BD….while sitting on the bar stool next to this client was our outstanding “baby got back” bartender in a discussion with this client on whether she enjoyed serving the sports fan….saying he had spent his life in a similar endeavor…. and that’s why he’d like to speak to the owner.                                                                          

MLB – 1985 – Home Town Cable Network – Dick Letourneau Interview Padres Manager Dick Williams – One Of MLB’s All-Time Great Managers At Olympic Stadium

 

Being a real pro at her profession of bartending….Paris replied with a question of whether it would be worth $10 in her tip jar to instantly make the owner appear?  To which the man replied…. “it would be worth $20”….to which she immediately pushed her tip jar over to him and said….“Dick, let me introduce you to another Dick”….as she pointed to Bone Daddy in the next chair.  When the client turned to face BD….the first words out of BD’s mouth were “Howdy Mr. Williams”….as BD instantly recognized multiple MLB World Championship winning Manager and MLB Manager of the Year….Dick Williams.  Sitting next to Bone Daddy was the man who had been instrumental in developing such future Yankee greats like Reggie Jackson….Catfish Hunter….Bert Campaneras….Rollie Fingers….Curt Blefary….Paul Linblad…. and Joe Rudi….into World Champions.                                                                                                           

MLB – 1973 – Special World Series Highlights – New York Mets Vs Oakland A’s

One thing I can tell you about BD is that when he is in the presence of greatness ….he always takes the  opportunity to pick that person’s brain….and that is exactly what happened for the next 3 hours until closing time.  The first thing that Dick Williams said to BD was “Son, you’ve got a hell of an establishment here.  I can tell that you are a true sports person like myself….cuz I have lived and died sports throughout my whole life….and I could tell by walking around your place here even without meeting you….that we were kindred spirits….you know….we’re just brothers of other mothers”.                                                                        

MLB – 1967 – Special World Series Highlights – St Louis Cardinals Vs Boston Red Sox

 

Three hours just flew by in what seemed like 15 minutes….as BD learned what made this man so successful in his trade….which was all in his ability to teach his players “to respect the game and do whatever the game asks of you….and do it well”.  He was obviously a man who was gruff….demanding….sharp tongued….quick witted….who seemed to be able to cut to the chase no matter how brutally honest that might be….for he was known to tell a player he was terrible when he had in fact been just that….as the greatness of Dick Williams shown through every word that came out of his mouth.  Bone Daddy was known to keep notes….writing down many quotes from famous sports personalities.  My favorite quote from the notes BD took that night sitting at the bar sitting with Dick Williams was “Playing without fundamentals is like eating without a knife and fork….you make a mess”.                                                   

MLB – 1951 To 1988 – Special – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies – Featuring Dick Williams

 

Williams also had a keen understanding of how to protect his players from the media and his owners….as Charley Finley, owner of the Oakland A’s….was the George Steinbrenner of baseball before George bought the Yankees.  A story that Williams told BD which gave significant insight into the character of Williams….was regarding an event during the World Series of 1973….when Charley O was so pissed off at his 2nd baseman, Mike Andrews, for his poor play….that he ordered Williams to fire the player on the spot.  Being that Williams worked for Charley O….he had no choice but to follow his bosses orders….to which Williams responded that day by telling his team that no matter what the outcome of the Series….he was going to quit at the end of the Series….cuz he could not in good faith work for someone who would order him to do such a thing to one of his players.  As history shows us…that is exactly what Williams did.  Dick Williams retired as the Oakland A’s manager immediately after winning the 1973 World Series for reasons of honor and loyalty.                                                                                                                                   

MLB – 1984 – Special World Series Highlights – San Diego Padres Vs Detroit Tigers

 

On July 7, 2011….Dick Williams passed from this Earth….stimulating me to write this story in his memory.  It is just my way of giving thanks from Bone Daddy….for a night (ok 3 hrs) of pure ecstasy….while being in the presence of genius and greatness….giving BD an opportunity to thank the former Manager for developing future Yankees like Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers.  So, a big thanks from this lil ole Chiweenie Sporstphile for demanding to meet BD that night at MSG….while spending those few precious hours of just talking sports….baseball and life with BD……and for autographing that softball when BD couldn’t find a baseball for him to sign.  Most of all….this is my way to say thanks to the man “for being a true HALL OF FAME DICK”….and for the following accomplishment in his career…..while signing w/ the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947…..for his 14 year professional career after breaking into the majors in 1951….then retiring and getting into coaching at the minor league level….and becoming the Red Sox manager in 1967, after the team had 8 consecutive losing seasons, while leading the team to the AL Pennant his first year as Manager…..plus for becoming the Oakland A’s manage in 1971 leading the team 3 consecutive AL West titles from 1971, 1972 and 1973….when he managed A’s to 2 World Championships in 1972 and 1973….then he managed the San Diego Padres to 1984 World Series….while becoming the 2nd manager in MLB history to lead 3 different teams to the World Series…. who was enshrined in the MLB Hall of Fame on July 27, 2008.  REST IN PEACE to a real HALL OF FAME DICK.                                                                                                                            

MLB – 1984 – Special Highlights – Multiple Brawls Over Pitches Thrown At Batters In Atlanta Braves Vs San Diego Padres

 

 

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