Mariners Fire Williams, Name First Base Coach to Interim Role

From Times Wire Services

Dick Williams, who had said he would retire as the Seattle Mariners manager at the end of this season, was fired Monday.

The Mariners, who have never had a winning season and are off to a 24-33 start this year, named first base coach Jimmy Snyder as their interim manager. He was successful in his debut Monday night as the Mariners defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 2-0, in the Kingdome.

"We decided that the time had come to make this change in the interest of the current season as well as for the future," Mariner President Chuck Armstrong said. "Dick Williams brought his experience and fundamental approach to the Mariners in 1986, and we appreciate his many contributions to our organization."

Williams, 59, had not asked for an extension of his original three-year contract with owner George Argyros, and the Mariners had not offered him one.

Third base coach Ozzie Virgil, who also worked with Williams at Montreal and San Diego, also was fired, the team said.

Said Snyder: "We all knew something was imminent. When you don't win, you lose managers.

"Dick Williams had his way of doing things. I'll do things the Jim Snyder way. I've managed before, and I have my ideas," he said. "I've always been an aggressive type manager. I've always tried to force the game."

The dismissals came one day after Mariner pitcher Mark Langston blasted Williams' leadership for leaving him in a game against the Kansas City Royals that the Mariners lost in the ninth inning when Langston tired.

"I think there was a lack of communication," Mariner reliever Mike Moore said. "But that's always been his way. He's always talked to his players through his coaches. I didn't like that. You never knew what was going on."

Williams became the sixth manager in the Mariners' history on May 9, 1986, after Chuck Cottier was fired when the Mariners got off to a 9-19 start. Under Williams, the Mariners went 58-75 the rest of that season.

Last season, the Mariners were 78-84, their best record ever, to finish in fourth place in the American League West.

Williams said during spring training that he hoped to remain in major league baseball as either a general manager or a television commentator.

Williams began this season with 1,546 victories, second among active major league managers. Sparky Anderson has 1,611.

Snyder, 56, joined the Mariners as first base coach this season after spending 1987 in the same position with the Chicago Cubs. He had been with the Cubs since 1982 in a player development role.

Before that, he spent 14 seasons as a minor league manager in the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.

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