Sunday, November 27, 2022

Review of "No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Life of Hardball," by Dick Williams

 Review of

No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Life of Hardball by Dick Williams ISBN 9780151667284

Four out of five stars

By admission, never was a nice guy

Dick Williams was a very successful manager in the major leagues. His highest moment was his first one, when he led the Boston Red Sox to the American League pennant in his first year as a manager in 1967. When the season started, the Red Sox were underdogs as they finished in ninth place the year before. They were competitive in 1968 and 1969 and would likely have challenged for the pennant if star pitcher Jim Lonborg had not broken his leg after the 1967 season. In 21 years as a manager, his teams won four pennants and 2 World Series titles, far better than some Hall of Fame managers.
This book is his autobiography, and he states his position on everything, including the all-important will to win as it has changed over time. Williams had a 13-year career as a player starting in 1951 before he began managing so he experienced the days when the pay was low and World Series money was relatively enormous compared to yearly salary.
Williams is very honest regarding his experiences with players and how he tried to motivate them any way he could. At times, the players resented his methods and other times they responded with better play. He is also candid about how drug use became a serious issue in the major leagues and how so many people in the upper management ranks simply turned a blind eye. Williams also calls out the whiners and complainers as well as the players that in his opinion lacked the guts and fortitude to be winners.
This is definitely a tell-it-like-it-was book, Williams also does not always spare himself in stating what went wrong and why. The best sections are those when he was the manager of the Oakland Athletics and had to deal with the most obnoxious owner of the time, Charlie Finley. Even though the team was winning, Finley was never satisfied and was a compulsive meddler. One thing is certain, Williams was never a nice guy.

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