FORT MYERS, FLA. – Stan Williams, better known for his days as an All-Star caliber starting pitcher for the Dodgers but whose best season may have been in the bullpen of the AL West champion 1970 Twins, died Saturday in Laughlin, Nev., after being hospitalized for 10 days with a cardiopulmonary illness. He was 84.
Williams, acquired with Luis Tiant in a winter-meetings deal that is better remembered for sending Dean Chance and Graig Nettles to Cleveland, became a trusted member of a terrific bullpen that helped the Twins win 98 games and a second straight AL West championship. Williams, normally a middle-inning bridge to closer Ron Perranoski, pitched 113⅓ innings and posted a 1.99 ERA to go with 15 saves and a 10-1 record.
That was following a career that began with five strong seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then two seasons with the Yankees and four with Cleveland. In all, Williams went 109-94 with a 3.48 ERA in a 14-year career that wound up with short stints in St. Louis and Boston.
Before arriving in Los Angeles, Williams spent 1957 at Midway Stadium with the St. Paul Saints, for whom he struck out a league-leading 223 and went 19-7 with a 3.04 ERA.
He helped pitch the Dodgers to the 1959 World Series championship, and later won the 1990 title as pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds.