SAN FRANCISCO -- Dick Williams, the Hall of Fame manager who died Thursday at age 82, had no obvious connection to the Giants. But Williams had an indirect effect on the reigning World Series champions, given the presence of two of his former Padres players, manager Bruce Bochy and third-base coach Tim Flannery, on San Francisco's staff.
"What he gave us is in this team," Flannery said. "He's the reason I coach the way I coach. He was the reason I played the way I played. And he showed us two things: He showed us there's a way to win and there's a way not to win. And I think anybody who played for him would tell you the same thing."
Williams was anything but touchy-feely or tactful. Bochy recalled playing a Spring Training game in Las Vegas after having caught a streak of games in which Padres pitchers allowed about 10 runs each day. Said Bochy, "Dick comes up and says, 'Do you think there's any way you can hold this team under five runs?' That was his way of motivating you. He'd get on you in a way that had an edge. That made me a better catcher."
Flannery remembered weathering considerable criticism from Williams, who told him the following season, "I made a mistake. As long as I'm here, you're here." But, Flannery added, "That's a happy ending. There are a lot of stories that don't have that type of ending, because some of the guys couldn't deal witih it. Those guys would be run out the next day.
"He'd go to the mound and say, 'If you don't get this guy out, you're going to be in Triple-A tomorrow.' And he would do it. He didn't ask you to move a runner from second base. He demanded it. And if you didn't get it done, if you were a young player, you were gone. That's how he managed young players, by intimidation."