Astros hire Williams to fill manager vacancy

Friday, November 2, 2001

HOUSTON -- Jimy Williams was quick to accept the Houston Astros' offer to manage the club -- and sidestep a question about the team's playoff woes under Larry Dierker.

Williams, fired by the Boston Red Sox in August, became the Astros' 13th manager Thursday, a day after agreeing to a three-year contract with general manager Gerry Hunsicker.

"Gerry called and offered the job and I said I'd sleep on it," Williams said. "I called him back in 45 minutes and told him I was a fast sleeper."

Dierker resigned two weeks ago after leading the Astros to four division titles in five years but losing in the first round of the playoffs each time.

Williams, who led the Red Sox to the playoffs in 1998 and 1999, wouldn't promise the Astros would improve on their 2-12 playoff record under Dierker.

"If you start making statements that you can't back up, you're in trouble," Williams said.

Williams was fired during his fifth season as Red Sox manager. He had a 414-352 record. The Red Sox dropped out of first place in the AL East after the All-Star break and Williams was dismissed after the team lost six of seven games.

In his previous job, Williams was fired by the Toronto Blue Jays in his fourth season as their manager in 1989, when the team started 12-24.

Hunsicker praised Williams' ability with young players, which fits in with the Astros youthful roster.

"He still feels you can teach at the major league level," Hunsicker said. "So many managers talk about what you can't do as opposed to Jimy, who feels you can still teach in the big leagues and he talks about what he will do.

"My goal is to give Jimy the right kind of players and if we both do our jobs, we can go to the World Series."

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