Sports Stars

Baseball

Ted Williams

Rarely was Williams stopped in his pursuit of hitting the baseball. As a rookie in 1939 he led the AL with 145 RBI. His next five full seasons he paced the loop in runs scored. In 1941, 1942, 1947, and 1949 he topped all AL hitters in home runs, reaching a peak of 43. He led the league in walks eight times, and in on-base percentage a record twelve times.

He was a patient hitter who refused to venture out of the strike zone for a pitch. He finished with more than 2,000 walks in just under 2,300 games. He also hit for average – winning league titles six times, including at the age of 23 and 40. His lifetime average was .344 on the strength of 2,654 hits.

As a member of the Red Sox he anchored a formidable lineup. Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Vern Stephens, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Billy Goodman, George Kell, and Jackie Jensen were some of the sluggers he teamed with. Unfortunately he was unable to translate his success into a World Series win for the Sox. In his only opportunity in 1946, he managed just five singles in 25 at-bats.

For years Williams battled the media in Boston, a fact which likely cost him two MVP awards. Twice Boston writers kept him off their ballot completely – delivering the honor to Joe DiMaggio. In 1946 DiMaggio and Williams were nearly involved in the greatest trade in baseball history. Fans had speculated as to how Williams would fare in Yankee Stadium with the short right field line. Conversely, Red Sox rooters wondered just how well DiMaggio would hit into the Green Monster. With the preliminaries of the trade in place, the Red Sox backed out, fearing The Yankee Clipper’s hurt foot.

In his final season, 1960, he hit a dramatic home run in Fenway Park in his final at-bat. It was his 29th of the season, a record for players at least 40 years old. He returned to baseball as a batting instructor for the Red Sox and took the job as manager of the Washington Senators in 1969. After guiding them to a fourth place finish, he was named Manager of the Year, but by 1972 he was tired of dealing with modern players and he ended his baseball days. He was later inducted into the Sportsman’s Fishing Hall of Fame – known as one of the best fly fisherman in American history. He had been inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. In his acceptance speech he lobbied for the inclusion of Negro League players in the Cooperstown shrine.

Nicknames
"The Splendid Splinter," "The Kid," "Thumper," and "Teddy Ballgame"

Played For
Boston Red Sox (1939-1942, 1946-1960)

Managed
Washington Senators (1969-1971), Texas Rangers (1972)

It's common knowledge that most great players fail to make great managers. With a few exceptions, this is true. Williams skippered the Senators from 1969 to 1971, following them to Texas for the '72 season. Thus, he was the first manager in Ranger history. He guided the Senators to a winning mark and a 4th place finish in 1969 (largely due to Frank Howard's slugging), but the team gradually faded over his last three years. He finished his managerial career with a .429 career mark (273-364). Like Rogers Hornsby, Williams failed to communicate well with his players, especially the pitchers, whom he dislkied.

Post-Season
1946 World Series

World Champion?
No, Williams and the Red Sox lost the '46 World Series in seven games.

Ultimate Games (0-1)
1946 World Series Game Seven

Honors
All-Star (17): 1940-1942, 1946-1951, 1953-1960; American League MVP 1946 and 1949

Stats
Ted got stronger as the season wore on - hitting .349 after the All-Star break over his career, and .339 before. His home run ratio is slightly better in the second half as well. In 1941 he hit .405 before the break and .406 after. His best second-half performance came in 1957 when he tore up the league at a .454 pace after the All-Star game.

Feats
American League Triple Crown: 1942 and 1946. In neither of those years did Williams win the MVP Award; Hit for the cycle on July 21, 1946; blasted three homers and drove in 8 runs on July 14, 1946; collected more RBI's than games played (1949); had RBI in 12 straight games (thru September 13, 1942); RBI in 11 consecutive games (thru June 10, 1950); homered in four straight at-bats (September 7th and September 22nd, 1957); combined with Bobby Doerr for 549 homers as teammates (Williams 333, Doerr 216).

Uniform #'s
#9 (1939-1942, 1946-1960)

Best Season, 1941
He was practically unstoppable, and he should have won the MVP, despite DiMaggio's 56-gamer. He failed to win the Triple Crown only due to the fact that he refused to swing at bad pitches, leaving him five RBI behind DiMaggio. Against the Yankees, Williams batted .470 in 22 games. Consider this as well: in 1941 major league rules stated that a sacrifice fly counted as a time at-bat. Later that rule was changed and has been that way ever since. Had Williams played under modern rules governing the sac fly (he had six in '41), his batting average would have been .412! Of the other 11 batters to reach .400 in the 20th century, five wouldn't have made it under the sac fly rule Williams played under.

1941: Williams vs. DiMaggio
During Joe DiMaggio's record hitting streak in 1941, Ted Williams batted .412, while DiMaggio batted .409. Williams batted .389 in April, .436 in May, .372 in June, .429 in July, .402 in August, and .397 in September. He hit .405 before the All-Star break, and .406 after.

Milestones
Hit his 500th home run on June 17, 1960, against the Cleveland Indians.

Hitting Streaks
Longest hitting streak came in 1941, when he batted in 23 straight games, hitting .489 (43-for-88), with a .773 SLG, .587 OBP, 7 doubles, 6 homers, 24 RBI, 21 walks, and 32 runs scored. The streak ran from May 15 to June 7. His streak was snapped by Ted Lyons of the White Sox.

Ted's Toughest Pitchers
Williams claimed Whitey Ford, Eddie Lopat, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, and Hoyt Wilhelm were his toughest opponents. "I was exposed to pitchers all my life, making a living off their dumbness, off their mistakes, but these were five pitchers who were never dumb. Even after he lost his best stuff - and he had more than anybody - Feller was able to win with smartness."

Now Pitching, Ted Williams?
In 1940, 21-year old Ted Williams was rushed to the mound in a blowout game. The right-handed throwing slugger pitched two innings, allowing three hits and one earned run. He didn't walk anyone, but he did strike out a batter. It was his only pitching appearance in the major leagues.

Home Run Facts
Hit seven pinch-hit homers; hit two in one game 37 times; three in one game on July 14, 1946 at Fenway; clubbed five game-winning homers in 1-0 games (most in history); his 29 homers in 1960 were the most by any player in his final year until Dave Kingman bested him in 1984... Like many great AL sluggers, Williams hit his most homers on the road in Detroit's Briggs Stadium (later Tiger Stadium). Williams blasted 55 against the Tigers in their home park. He hit 43 in Cleveland, 35 in Comiskey Park, 34 in Shibe Park, 33 in St. Louis, and 30 in Yankee Stadium... Williams blasted 13 extra-inning home runs, ranking among the all-time leaders... 17 total Grand Slams - 1939 (2), 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946 (2), 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1955 (3), 1957, 1958 (2).

Replaced
Fiery Ben Chapman, the high-strung speedster. Chapman moved on to Cleveland in 1939, Williams rookie season. Doc Cramer and Joe Vosmik joined Ted in the Sox outfield for his freshman campaign.

Best Strength as a Player
Hitting ability

Largest Weakness as a Player
Speed


Visit these other interesting sites!

Hosted in Yaia.com