The mood passed as quickly as it came. Williams was awake now, putting his thoughts together. The exercise of meaningful conversation has always stimulated him.
"The fun," he said, "was seeing them improve and realize they could win, and that's a satisfaction to me."
"But early on when you said that you had so much to learn, that you didn't even know how to make out a lineup card, what about then?"
"That's why I said Vince Lombardi showed me something. Here I'm starting out, not knowing what's going on, whether I can do it, who the coaches are, who the players are, what I'm getting into. And I look over there and I see where Lombardi has hired head coaches as his assistants and, boy, that woke me up. The smartest coach in football has head coaches as his assistants. He surrounds himself with good guys. By the time spring training started I had made up my mind to do the same thing. I was going to get all the help I could get.
"The big thing for me was the infield. Nobody had to tell me anything about hitting, nobody had to tell me anything about pitching. I don't mean you don't get good ideas from people, but that part of the game I knew.
"Now it's probably true that a good infielder can help another infielder better than a batter can help another batter because there's certain set ways to do things in the infield—how to cheat on a bunt, things I never knew because I was an outfielder.
"Like what? Bunting situations. For example, man on first, maybe hit-and-run or bunt. The guy turns around to bunt and decides to hit. Now,"—he was up on the edge of the cot, framed by the moonlight against the mosquito-netting window—"your head's home plate. I'm the second baseman. There's first. On a bunt, I'm supposed to cover first. Fast. Break to first on the bunt. Well, the correct way to do it—and I never knew this—is for me, the second baseman, to come in toward you so that if the batter straightens up and tries to ram it through I'm still in position to make the play. Then if the guy bunts, the second baseman is already moving and he can go to first. Start in, then go to first. I didn't know that."
"So that's why you tried to hire Johnny Pesky?"
"Well, I had Foxie [Nellie Fox] all set as one of my coaches, but he couldn't do it all. I asked Pesky if he wanted to come, but he was tied up with television in Boston, and he said no, and it was just as well. I had Pat Mullin, but he was an outfielder. And I had Trahilliger."