"I know that every one of those players that played for him is very sad," A's broadcaster and starting catcher for the 1973 team, Ray Fosse, said. "He was very well respected, and what more can you say about playing for someone that you want to play hard for."
Williams, 82, is believed to have suffered a brain aneurism at his Las Vegas home earlier on Thursday.
Fosse said that Williams was a master of ensuring that the players were not involved with the dealings of the A's owner at the time, Charlie Finley, who was notoriously frugal.
"We knew things were going on, but Dick never let us know what was happening," Fosse said. "We played to win, and he was a very, very good manager."
Williams resigned after the A's won the 1973 World Series, when he and Finley did not reach terms on a new contract.
"He made some great players on those teams," Fosse said. "Changing Rollie from starter to closer, Hall of Fame career because of it, he could see things like that."
Williams himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame, as one of two managers to take three different teams to the World Series.