Jimmy Williams (coach)
May 15, 1926|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died: June 6, 2016
James Bernard Williams (May 15, 1926 – June 6, 2016) was a Canadian outfielder, coach and manager in minor league baseball and coach in Major League Baseball. Williams threw and batted right-handed, stood 5'10" (178 cm) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg). He is a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
He played in the farm system of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers in 1947–64. Although he never was called to the majors as a player, Williams enjoyed several highly productive seasons. In his first year as a professional, split between three Dodger farm teams in the lower minors, Williams batted a composite .367 with 15 triples, 121 runs batted in, 24 stolen bases and 12 home runs. He played three seasons (1955–57) of Triple-A baseball in his native Canada with the Montreal Royals of the International League, batting .329 in 1955 with 93 runs scored, 33 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers, and 21 stolen bases, and also exceeded the .300 mark with the 1958 Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League.
His playing got him noticed by the minor leagues, and he went on to enjoy a lengthy career as a manager in minor league baseball in 1963–80, where he compiled a record of 1,155 wins and 1,156 defeats (.499). His seventeen years of managing in the minors was interrupted by a brief period of coaching with the Major-League Houston Astros for a season in 1975. His most significant achievement was his coaching tenure with the Baltimore Orioles (1981–87), a run that included their historic 1983 World Series win. Williams then followed former Baltimore general manager Hank Peters to the Cleveland Indians, where Williams served as director of field operations for the club's farm system.
He should not be confused with James Francis "Jimy" Williams (born 1943), also a former minor league skipper and Major League coach and former manager of the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
Williams met his first wife, Lorraine (née) Elliott while playing for the Pueblo Dodgers in 1949, with whom he had three children, Chris, Kirk and Jultie. When he was not playing Winterball in Caracas, San Juan or Havana they made their home in Pueblo, Colorado. He was very handy with tools, worked construction (building houses), and was frequently adding rooms or moving walls in their home.
In 1988 he married Carole (née) Garrett, of Baltimore, and continued his home-improvement work in the off season; Their wedding date is inscribed on the front porch of their home in Joppa, Maryland. Williams died June 6, 2016 in Baltimore. He is survived by his wife Carole and four children.
Minor League managing career
- Santa Barbara Rancheros (1963)
- Grand Forks Dodgers (1964)
- Shelby Rebels (1965)
- Leesburg Athletics (1966–1967) – Championship in 1966
- Peninsula Grays (1968)
- Iowa Oaks (1969)
- Columbus Astros (1970) – Championship
- Oklahoma City 89ers (1971)
- Cocoa Astros (1972)
- Denver Bears (1973)
- Columbus Astros (1974)
- Lodi Dodgers (1976)
- Albuquerque Dukes (1977)
- Miami Orioles (1978) – Championship
- Charlotte O's (1979–80) – Championship in 1980
- Howe News Bureau, 1985 Baltimore Orioles Organization Book. St. Petersburg, Florida: The Baseball Library, 1985.