Former Reds owner Williams dies at 93
Franchise's greatest success achieved under trailblazer
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
William J. Williams, a driving force in Cincinnati sports and a former owner of the Reds, passed away on Sunday night at 93.
Williams is also remembered as one of the Queen City's leading businessmen and charitable forces for decades, but he's best known as the man who steered the Reds' Big Red Machine to its 1970s glory.
"Mr. Williams made many contributions to the success of this proud franchise, and his family continues to play an important role in its stewardship," said Reds president and chief executive officer Bob Castellini.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
Williams became a principal owner of the Reds when a group including him purchased the club in 1966, launching Williams on a 16-year stretch as the team's vice president.
Shortly after beginning his role with the Reds, Williams influenced the 1967 hiring of Bob Howsam as general manager, which helped ignite the Big Red Machine.
The Reds were baseball's dominant team in the 1970s, a decade during which they won six West Division titles, four National League pennants and World Series championships in 1975 and '76.
Williams became the Reds' managing general partner in 1980, then general partner from 1982-84. The club was sold to Marge Schott in 1985.
Williams' family remains deeply involved with the Reds' day-to-day operations. Sons W. Joseph Williams Jr. and Thomas L. Williams are the Reds' chairman and vice chairman and treasurer, respectively. Grandson Dick Williams is the team's vice president of baseball operations.
"He wasn't flashy; he wasn't egotistical," Thomas Williams told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He never let ego affect his judgment."
In 1968, Williams Sr. became a founding owner of the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals, an ownership he retained until his death.