By taking over a ninth-place team and leading it to the pennant in his first year as a big-league manager in Boston, Dick Williams earned the reputation as a turnaround artist that he built on later in Montreal and San Diego.
By taking over an emerging powerhouse in Oakland and leading the Athletics to back-to-back World Series titles to start a dynasty in the 1970s, Williams became a Hall of Famer.
Williams, one of only two managers ever to lead three teams to the World Series, died Thursday from a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nev., the Hall of Fame said. He was 82.
With his brash style, mustache and public feuds with owner Charlie Finley, Williams was the ideal manager for the A's teams that won it all for him in 1972 and '73 and then again the following year after he resigned.
"He came to us at a very good time in our development and certainly for me as a young player full of talent," Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson said. "We were young and needed to understand how to go about winning and take the final step to become a great team. He was very important in that. He demanded excellence." He won pennants with the Red Sox and San Diego as well as the championships in Oakland to join Hall of Famer Bill McKechnie as the only managers ever to take three franchises to the World Series.
He also took the Montreal Expos to their only playoff berth in the strike-shortened 1981 season as he built on his success turning around struggling franchises with his no-nonsense approach.
But he had his biggest success during three tumultuous seasons in Oakland in the 1970s. Williams led the Athletics to 101 wins and a division title his first year in 1971 before being swept by Baltimore in the AL championship series.
Before coming to Oakland, Williams was part of Boston's memorable "Impossible Dream" team in 1967 that won the pennant for the first time since 1946 before losing the World Series in seven games to St. Louis.
The Red Sox had finished ninth in the 10-team American League the previous year, helping form Williams' reputation as a master of the turnaround.
Williams had an overall record of 1,571-1,451 in 21 seasons, also spending time with the Angels and Seattle Mariners. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 after being elected by the Veterans Committee.
There was a moment of silence with Williams' picture on the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium before New York played Tampa Bay. Williams previously worked for the Yankees, and his son became a scout for the team.