After an MLB career that went from 1951 to 1964, he became a manager in the Boston Red Sox minor league system. He took over the big club in 1967, taking a 9th place team in 1966 to the World Series in 1967. Since the Red Sox did not maintain their success, he was let go in 1969. He coached under Gene Mauch after that before landing the Oakland Athletics job in 1971. Though he had some talent such as Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson, he led the team to an AL West title in 1971 and to back to back World Series wins in 1972 and 1973. He quit after the 1973 season after his problems with owner Charlie Finley.
He was back in the saddle by the end of the 1974 season, struggling with the California Angels for a couple of seasons before landing the Montreal Expos job before the 1977 season. After a couple losing seasons, he led the Expos to three winning seasons before losing his job in the strike-shortened 1981 season. It turned out to be the Expos first playoff appearance that year.
He next moved on to the San Diego Padres where he finished with a .500 record in his first two years in 1982 and 1983. In 1984, he led the Padres to the World Series for the first time ever and along with Sparky Anderson, became the first manager to make it to the World Series in both the American and National Leagues. He struck around one more season in 1985, before taking a chance with the Seattle Mariners before being finished managing in 1988.
One thing about Williams was he did not stay very long whereever he was at. Part of it was his combative nature, which wore out his welcome in a couple locations. His controversal move to use star pitcher Steve Rogers as a pinch runner in 1981, which led to an injury, cost him his job with the Expos. He made it to the Hall of Fame in 2008, which was very much deserved.