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Former Toronto Blue Jays manager Jimy Williams dead at 80

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Photo credit:Screengrab/YouTube
Zach Laing
2 months ago
Former Toronto Blue Jays skipper Jimy Williams has died at the age of 80, the club announced Monday.
The distant relative of baseball legend Ted Williams first joined the Jays in 1980 as their third base coach, remaining there until 1986, when he was promoted to manager. Taking over for the departing Bobby Cox, Williams went 86-76 with the club in his first season in the dugout.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Blue Jays Manager Jimy Williams,” the Jays said in a statement. “His impact on our organization will forever be remembered.”
Despite winning records in each of his first three seasons as manager, Williams’ clubs failed to make the playoffs, despite being over .500 in each campaign. When the Jays sputtered out of the gate in 1989, going 12-24 through the first 36 games of the season, he was fired and subsequently was replaced by Cito Gaston. Under him, the Jays went 77-49 to finish the year first in the AL East, only to be knocked out by the Oakland Athletics in five games.
While Gaston would go on to be the Jays’ longest-serving manager, winning World Series in 1992 and 1993, Williams would see success of his own, winning a World Series with the 1995 Atlanta Braves as a hitting coach and the 2008 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies as a bench coach.

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He saw other managerial experience, too, spending 1997 through the first 118 games of the 2001 season with the Boston Red Sox, and from 2002 through the first 88 games of the 2004 season with the Houston Astros.
Williams, like so many, started his career as a player, playing eight seasons of minor league ball between 1965 and 1971, and later for six games in 1975. He had 14 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, recording three hits across two games in a series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966. He appeared in one game with the Cardinals in 1967.
Williams is survived by his wife Peggy, four children and eight grandchildren, according to ESPN. Two sons remain in baseball, with Brady Williams a third-base coach for the Rays, and Shawn Williams a skipper for the Phillies Double-A affilaite Reading Fightin Phils.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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