Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, who won two World Series titles with Oakland and led two other franchises to pennants, died Thursday. He was 82. Williams died from a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nev., the Hall of Fame said.
“We are extremely saddened by the sudden loss of Dick Williams, a Hall of Fame manager whose commitment to the game was legendary,” said Jane Forbes Clark, the chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “He was an intense leader on the field and a gracious member of the Hall of Fame family, who loved returning to Cooperstown.”
Williams is one of two managers to win pennants with three teams, joining Hall of Famer Bill McKechnie.
But he had his biggest success during three tumultuous seasons in Oakland in the 1970s. Williams led the Athletics to 101 wins and a division title his first year in 1971 before being swept by Baltimore in the AL championship series.
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He then won World Series titles the next two years with Charley Finley’s brash team led by Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter as the A’s became the first team to repeat since the 1961-62 Yankees.
But fed up with Finley’s meddling style of ownership, Williams resigned after the 1973 title instead of sticking around for what turned out to be a third straight championship season.
CLEMENS TRIAL -- Prospective jurors screened for the Roger Clemens perjury trial were more critical of Congress for spending time investigating drugs in baseball than they were of the star pitcher on trial for lying to lawmakers about ever using them.
The 11-time All-Star watched intently but didn’t speak as members of the jury pool faced intense questioning from the judge and lawyers from both sides. Nearly as many were turned away on the second day as qualified to be considered for the panel that will eventually be seated, including two who were excused after they said they weren’t sure they could be fair because of their feelings about Congress.
“Even members of Congress have lied to Congress and they have not been prosecuted,” said one of the panelists who was excused.
METS -- Jose Reyes has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
The All-Star shortstop injured the hamstring running to first base in the first inning against the New York Yankees on July 2. The move is retroactive to July 3.
BREWERS -- All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun was out of the starting lineup for a fifth straight game, though tests showed no damage to his strained left calf.
ANGELS -- Los Angeles rookie closer Jordan Walden will replace ailing Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees at the All-Star game.
Major League Baseball announced that Walden will join the American League team because Rivera was an elected All-Star, meaning the next-highest ranking reliever in player balloting who was not already on the squad takes his place.
Rivera has soreness in his right arm and hasn’t pitched since Sunday, when he blew a save in the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Mets.
TIGERS -- Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson left Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Royals with a sore left wrist.
REDS -- Cincinnati kept seeing better and better numbers from shortstop Zack Cozart in the minor leagues. They decided they couldn’t hold the highly-touted prospect back any longer.
The Reds called up Cozart and immediately inserted him into the starting lineup for the opener of a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Shortstop Paul Janish was sent down to Louisville after hitting .227 with no homers in 68 games.
Also, the Reds demoted pitcher Edinson Volquez to Louisville and promoted Carlos Fisher.
CARDINALS -- St. Louis called up right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters from Triple-A Memphis and activated catcher Gerald Laird from the disabled list.
INDIANS -- Manager Manny Acta is going to try something different in an attempt to get Cleveland right-hander Fausto Carmona on track. Carmona will be dropped from the No. 1 spot and put at the end of the rotation when he comes back from a stint on the disabled list, Acta said.
ROYALS -- Jason Kendall, one of five players in major league history to catch 2,000 games, has re-torn rotator cuff muscles in his throwing shoulder and will require a second surgery that will sideline him at least through 2012.