Stanley Wilson Williams
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 5", Weight 230 lb.
"When you had a staff of Drysdale, Koufax, Podres and Williams, you had a staff second to none. The only one I can think of that might be comparable would have been the Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia group in Cleveland." - Tommy Lasorda
"Getting to the big leagues with the Dodgers was tough. . .You had to fight to keep your job." - Stan Williams
Signed by Brooklyn in 1954, Williams pitched for the Shawnee Hawks in 1954 and then went 18-7 for the Newport News Dodgers in 1955. After going 11-9 for two teams in 1956, he went 19-7 for the St. Paul Saints in 1957. He was back in St. Paul for a few games in 1958 but was up in the big leagues for most of the season.
With the Dodgers
He broke into the majors during the Dodgers' first year in Los Angeles, 1958. The other pitchers in the Dodger rotation were Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Johnny Podres. Williams went 9-7 on a team that finished well under .500.
The next year, 1959, the Dodgers turned it around and won the World Series. While Williams appeared in 35 games, only 15 of them were starts as Roger Craig and Danny McDevitt had more starts to round out the rotation. Williams was 5-5. He appeared once in relief in the Series.
He won back his starting role from 1960 to 1962, winning 14 or 15 games each year. He was an All Star in 1960, with an ERA that was 4th in the league. He was also 3rd in the league in strikeouts per nine innings in 1960, and in 1961, he did even better, finishing 2nd in the league in that category. In 1962, the Dodgers won 102 games with Williams on the starting staff.
Although Williams was a mainstay of the staff, the Dodger pitching was deep enough that they could afford to trade him to the New York Yankees in 1963 for Bill Skowron. "Moose" Skowron was to stay only one year with the Dodgers, hitting .203 in 89 games. Williams, meanwhile, spent two years with the Yankees. In 1963, the Yankees won the pennant, and Williams went 9-8 with a 3.21 ERA. In the World Series, he pitched 3 innings in relief against his old team, the Dodgers, who swept the Series 4-0. In 1964, he appeared in 21 games with the Yankees, starting 10, and had a record of 1-5.
Williams incurred an injury one day when he threw a pitch and landed wrong off the mound. It hurt his ability to throw fast after that.
He then went to the Cleveland Indians, where he appeared in only 3 games in 1965, none in 1966, and 16 in 1967 (with an ERA of 2.62). He spent much of 1965-67 in the minors with Seattle, Spokane and Portland. In 1966 with the Spokane Indians he had a 1.65 ERA, mostly as a reliever (the team ERA was 3.53).
Finally, in 1968, he became a regular pitcher in the majors again. He went 13-11, a fact which masks that he started 24 games but also was a reliever and finished 16 games, saving 9. The next year, 1969, was more of the same, as he went 6-14, starting 15 games, finishing 26, and saving 12.
In 1970, with the Minnesota Twins, he became a full-time reliever, going 10-1 with 15 saves as Minnesota won the division. The next year, 1971, he was a reliever most of the season with Minnesota, getting 4 saves, before moving to the Cardinals for the end of the season. In 1972, he finished out his career in Boston with 3 appearances.
He spent much of 1972 in the minors with Louisville and Salt Lake City. His 2.73 ERA with Louisville was much lower than the team ERA of 3.48.
Lifetime in the majors, he had 109 wins, a .537 winning percentage, and a 3.48 ERA. His strikeout per nine inning ratio puts him in the top 200 of all time. He also had 43 saves lifetime.
He said the best hitter he ever faced was Hank Aaron.
As manager and coach
After retiring Williams managed the Bristol Red Sox in 1974, then coached the Boston Red Sox (1975-1976), Chicago White Sox (1977-1978), New York Yankees (1980-1982), Cincinnati Reds (1984), Yankees again (1987-1988), Reds again (1990-1991), and Seattle Mariners (1998-1999).
- NL All-Star (1960)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1961)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1960 & 1961)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1961)
- Won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959
- Peter M. Gordon: "Stan Williams", in Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan, ed.: '75:The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 224-229. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7