Hall of Fame friend

By Craig Muder

The man with the glasses and the gray mustache walked beside me that Cooperstown afternoon, heading to a press
conference following his Hall of Fame Induction Speech.

“Mr. Williams, congratulations,” was all I could muster on that July 2008 day, less than one month into my new
job at the Hall of Fame.

“Thank you!” Dick Williams beamed back at me. “I never thought I would be here.”

Me either, Dick. Me either.

I didn’t know Dick Williams that well. After that first meeting, we’d bump into each other at Hall of Fame
Weekend or at the Hall of Fame Classic. But there will always be a connection between me and this one-of-a-kind manager.

First, there was his book. Published in 1990, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – by Williams with Bill Plaschke – became one of my favorite looks inside the game. Williams pulled no punches, recounting his career and family life in startling detail.

Growing up in the 1970s, I had not thought kindly of Williams, who always seemed a bit harsh. But after reading
his life story, I found a deep respect for a man whose passion for winning produced great triumph – and sometimes heartache.

So on July 27, 2008, I found myself escorting a man I felt I knew like a friend. It calmed me, soothed me… in
the face of great nervousness as I began my dream job in Cooperstown.

It was like coming home.

Dick, you may not have known this, but you’ll always have a special place in my heart.

Your memory lives on in the place where history remains forever young: Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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