08/24/2009 1:32 PM ET
Reds mourn death of former owner William J. Williams Sr.
The Cincinnati Reds offer condolences to the family and friends of William J. Williams Sr., the former owner of the Reds who died last night.
Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini said, "Mr. Williams made many contributions to the success of this proud franchise, and his family continues to play an important role in its stewardship. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
Mr. Williams is the father of Reds Chairman W. Joseph Williams Jr. and Vice Chairman and Treasurer Thomas L. Williams and the grandfather of Vice President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams.
William J. Williams Sr. was one of the principal owners of the group that purchased the Reds in 1966, then in 1980 became a managing general partner. He served as vice president of the club from 1966 to 1982 and as general partner from 1982 to 1984.
As chairman of a small committee that included Bill DeWitt Jr. and Barry Buse, in 1967 Mr. Williams hired general manager Bob Howsam, who built the Big Red Machine championship teams. The Reds were baseball's dominant team in the 1970s, a decade during which they won 6 Western Division titles, 4 National League pennants and World Series championships in 1975 and 1976.
The family sold its controlling interest in the team in 1985, but Thomas L. and W. Joseph Williams Jr. were part of a group that purchased a controlling interest in the Reds, along with Mr. Castellini, in January 2006.
Mr. Williams also was a founding owner of the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals starting in 1968 and remained an owner until his death.
One of Cincinnati's most generous benefactors, Mr. Williams received the Great Living Cincinnatian Award in 1995.