On his way out of the theater after seeing “The Sleuth” one night in 1972, a familiar face kept popping into Pat Williams’ mind as he considered actor Michael Caine disguising himself as Inspector Doppler, a character of the movie.
“I came out and said to myself, ‘That’s Jerry Krause,’ and I started calling him ‘The Sleuth,’ and it stuck, so I guess I get credit for that,” said Williams, the Magic senior vice president who began his long career as an NBA executive as the Bulls general manager from 1969-73.
Williams, just 29 when he took the job worth $30,000 a year, created the mascot “Benny the Bull,” traded for Chet Walker, and helped revive interest in the Bulls. Krause, who died last Monday at 77, worked for Williams as the team’s chief scout. And while Krause didn’t always appreciate being nicknamed “The Sleuth,” he earned the reputation with his clandestine ways.
“We all got a kick out of imitating him, because he’d always talk to you behind his hand, put it up to his mouth like he was whispering, and I’d be like ‘Jerry, we’re in the car, nobody’s listening,’” said Williams, 76. “He was a young, hard-working, diligent scout who would make any trip necessary. He prided himself in his work ethic – and also in his secretiveness.”
Any single scouting excursion of Krause’s stand out for its covert nature?
“How about all of them,” Williams answered.
Wistfully, Williams reflected on his unique perspective of being connected to the two iconic Chicago sports executives whose deaths came on consecutive days last week: Krause and Dallas Green, the former Cubs general manager who died at 83. Williams’ multiple myeloma in remission, he cherishes every day and keeps a full schedule, more difficult this week mourning the loss of his old pals.
Green and his lifelong friend Williams entered the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame together in 2010. That occasion gave them an opportunity to catch up on the fun times they had in…