Courtesy of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Jimmy Williams passed away on Monday in Baltimore, Md., just 12 days after celebrating his 90th birthday.
Born in Toronto, Ont., on May 25, 1926, Williams was a multi-sport star at Toronto’s De La Salle College School, excelling in hockey, football, lacrosse and baseball. His athletic prowess caught the eye of the Brooklyn Dodgers who signed him in the mid-’40s and he would play in their minor league system for 18 seasons (1947 to 1964).
Though he never received a big league call-up, Williams was a highly-regarded right-handed hitter. In his first season in the Dodgers organization, the Canadian outfielder suited up for three different teams and recorded a .367 batting average and knocked in 121 runs. One of his finest seasons came with the triple-A Montreal Royals in 1955, when playing alongside future Cooperstowners Don Drysdale and Tommy Lasorda, he batted .329 and belted 13 homers. In all, Williams hit .288 and clubbed 126 home runs during his close to two decades in the minors.
When his playing days were over, Williams managed in the minors for 17 seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland A’s, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles. He also coached in the majors with the Astros in 1975 and with the Orioles from 1981 to 1987, where he was the first base coach on the O’s 1983 World Series-winning squad. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
“Jimmy Williams enjoyed a fine playing career in an era when there weren’t many Canadians in the affiliated minor league ranks,” said Scott Crawford, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s director of operations. “He was also a highly respected manager and coach who positively influenced hundreds of players. On behalf of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his family.”
Williams is survived by his wife Carole, sons Jamie, Chris (wife Kay) and Kirk and daughter Julie (husband Tom). He’s also survived by four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a brother. Williams will be laid to rest in the Gardens of Faith Cemetery in Baltimore. You can leave online condolences for him here.