William Ellis Russell (born October 21, 1948) a former shortstop, coach and manager, played his entire 18-year, 2,181-game career with the Los Angeles Dodgers as the starting shortstop. Four National League pennant winners and one World Series championship team. He also served as the team's manager from 1996 to 1998.
A right-handed batter and thrower, Russell came to the Dodgers as a 20-year-old outfielder in 1969, and his first two MLB seasons were spent in the outfield while veteran Maury Wills was the Dodgers shortstop. During the 1970–71 offseason, Russell was converted to a second baseman, and then – the following year – to shortstop, becoming a regular in 1972. Russell was the club's everyday shortstop for the next eleven years, anchoring an infield that included third baseman Ron Cey, second baseman Davey Lopes and first baseman Steve Garvey. Russell batted .263 over his regular season career, and – coincidentally – posted the same average in 23 World Series games in 1974, 1977, 1978, and 1981. Russell's finest Fall Classic was in 1978, when he garnered 11 hits and batted .423 in a losing effort against the New York Yankees. He also hit .337 over five National League Championship Series.
Only Zack Wheat played more games as a Dodger and no one in the West Coast portion of Dodgers history has played more games than Bill. He played shortstop exclusively from 1974–1983 and alternated playing time at second base, shortstop and the outfield for his final three seasons.
Russell became a coach on manager Tommy Lasorda's staff in 1987. In 1992–93, he piloted the Dodgers' Triple-A farm club in Albuquerque. He then rejoined Lasorda and the Los Angeles coaching staff in 1994 and was considered by general manager Fred Claire and team owner Peter O'Malley to be the heir apparent to Lasorda's job. In late June 1996, after the 68-year-old skipper suffered a mild heart attack, Russell became acting manager on June 25 and permanent manager on July 29, thus making him only the third man to manage the Dodgers in 43 years. Russell finished the 1996 season, compiling a record of 49–37 and bringing the Dodgers home in second place, earning the NL wild card spot in the playoffs before being swept in three games by the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series. The following year, he directed the Dodgers to an 88-74 mark and another runner-up finish in the NL West. Russell was released by new ownership on June 21, 1989, ending a 30-year association with the team. His final managing record was 173–149 (.537).
After his departure from the Dodgers, Russell coached for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and managed farm teams of both Tampa Bay and the San Francisco Giants. He currently works for Major League Baseball's umpiring division.