Obit Williams Baseball

Jimy Williams, who led the Boston Red Sox to playoff appearances in 1998 and 1999, died on Friday. He was 80. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

BOSTON — Jimy Williams, the 1999 American League Manager of the Year for Boston who won 910 games over a dozen seasons that included stints with Toronto and Houston, has died. He was 80.

The Red Sox said Williams died Friday at AdventHealth North Pinellas Hospital in Tarpon Springs, Florida, after a brief illness. Williams lived in nearby Palm Harbor.

Williams was voted AL Manager of the Year after leading the Red Sox to their second straight playoff appearance. He said keeping calm in a clubhouse was easier than at home.

“I’ve got a wife and four kids. You want turmoil?” Williams said when he was hired to manage Boston in 1996. “You’ve got to talk. You can’t choose up sides and say, ‘Let’s see who wins this battle.’ ”

An infielder, Williams was born James Francis Williams in Santa Maria, California, on Oct. 4, 1943. He was a 1961 graduate of Arroyo Grande High School and first spelled his name Jimy as a prank in high school.

Williams went to Fresno State, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1964 in agri-business. He played summer ball that year with the Alaska Goldpanners alongside Tom Seaver and Graig Nettles. Williams signed with Boston, played at Class A Iowa and was selected by St. Louis in the 1965 Rule 5 draft.


Williams made his major league debut on April 26, 1966, striking out against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax in his first at-bat. His first hit was on May 7, an RBI single off San Francisco’s Juan Marichal, like Koufax a future Hall of Famer.

“I can remember my first big league hit, but when you only get three you can remember them all,” he told the Houston Chronicle.

Williams played in 14 major league games, going 3 for 13 (.231) with one RBI.

He was traded to Cincinnati and spent 1968 at Triple-A Indianapolis, then was taken by Montreal in the expansion draft and played for Triple-A Vancouver in 1969.

His playing career cut short by a shoulder injury, Williams became a manager for the California Angels at Class A Quad Cities of the Midwest League in 1974 and after six seasons managing in the minors became Bobby Mattick’s third base coach with Toronto in 1980.

Bobby Cox took over as the Blue Jays’ manager in 1982 and when Cox left in 1986 to become Atlanta’s general manager, Williams replaced him in Toronto’s dugout.


Toronto went 86-76 in his first season and had a 3 1/2-game AL East lead with seven games left in 1987 but went 0-7 and finished two games behind Detroit. The Blue Jays went 87-75 in 1988 and Williams was replaced by Cito Gaston after a 12-24 start in 1989. Williams had clashed several times with star George Bell, who didn’t want to be a designated hitter.

Williams returned to the Braves as Cox’s third base coach from 1991-96, memorably giving Sid Bream the green light for the pennant-winning run on Francisco Cabrera’s single that beat Barry Bonds’ throw from left field and won Game 7 of the 1992 NL Championship Series against Pittsburgh.

Williams replaced Kevin Kennedy as Boston’s manager after the 1996 season. The Red Sox won 78 games in his first season and then had consecutive 90-win seasons. They rallied from a 0-2 deficit to beat Cleveland in a 1999 Division Series.

“I probably see life a lot differently than when I was with Toronto,” he said after winning Manager of the Year, “maybe not so excitable, from a standpoint of having to say something all the time.”

Boston won 85 games in 2000, and Williams was fired in August 2001 with the team at 65-53.

ANGELS: Outfielder Aaron Hicks has agreed to a one-year, $740,000 contract with the Los Angeles Angels.


Hicks’ salary is the major league minimum and will be offset against the $9.5 million he was guaranteed by the Yankees, who released him from a $70 million, seven-year contract that also assured a $9.5 million salary in 2025 plus a $1 million buyout of a 2026 club option.

ORIOLES: Left-hander Danny Coulombe and the Baltimore Orioles agreed to a $2.3 million, one-year contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Baltimore has a $4 million option for 2025 with no buyout as part of the agreement, and the option price could escalate to $4,925,000 based on games pitched this year: $100,000 for 50, $50,000 for each game from 51-55, $55,000 apiece for 56-60 and $60,000 each for 61-65.

BREWERS: First baseman Rhys Hoskins says he should have few limitations in his first spring with his new team after missing the entire 2023 season with a torn left ACL.

“I’ll be stoked to get on the field,” Hoskins said in a Zoom news conference after agreeing last week to a $34 million, two-year contract that includes an opt-out after this season. “I’m pretty bored as a competitor in not having played in so long.”

Hoskins injured a knee last March while fielding a grounder in a spring training game with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he had spent his entire major league career before joining the Brewers.

Hoskins, who turns 31 on March 17, should fill a major void for the Brewers as a power-hitting first baseman. Hoskins batted .246 with a .332 on-base percentage, 30 homers and 79 RBI in 2022, which marked his fourth season with at least 27 homers.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.