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Ted Williams

Ted Williams

Position(s):
OF, P, LF
Nicknames:
The Kid, Teddy Ballgame, Splendid Splinter, Thumper
Born:
August 30, 1918
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 3"
Weight:
205 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-20-1939 with BOS
Allstar Selections:
1941 ML, 1942 ML, 1942 TC, 1946 MVP, 1947 ML, 1947 TC, 1949 ML, 1949 MVP, 1957 ML
Hall of Fame:
1966

Intro

No one cared more about hitting than Ted Williams, and few ever did it better. In a career interrupted twice by war, Williams still managed to post incredible numbers. He was the last man to bat over .400, in 1941. He hit for power, average, and had a remarkable eye at the plate. He was the first man for whom opposing teams consistently attempted to come up with defensive schemes to stop him.

Unform Number

#9 (1939-1942, 1946-1960)

Ted Williams Teammates

Sammy White Jimmie Foxx Bobby Doerr Joe Cronin Vern Stephens Carl Yastrzemski Dom DiMaggio Jackie Jensen Mel Parnell Lefty Grove

Quotes About

"They can talk about Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby and Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial and all the rest, but I'm sure not one of them could hold cards and spades to Williams in his sheer knowledge of hitting. He studied hitting the way a broker studies the stock market, and could spot at a glance mistakes that others couldn't see in a week." Carl Yastrzemski

Replaced By

In 1960, his final season, Williams (41) was almost as old as fellow Red Sox outfielders Gary Geiger (23) and Lou Clinton (22) combined. In 1961, Carl Yastrzemski replaced Williams in left field and of course, went on to a Hall of Fame career of his own. Also that season, Jackie Jensen returned to Boston, after missing a year due to his fear of flying.

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.

Facts

Ted Williams 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.

On May 15, 1951, the Red Sox celebrated the American League's 50th anniversary by inviting several old-timers to Fenway Park for their game against the White Sox. Cy Young and Freddy Parent were a few of the old Boston stars who came out. During the game, Ted Williams belted his 300th career home run.

Prior to the 1946 off-season, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey paid Ted Williams $10,000 not to play in a series of exhibition games after the World Series. Williams had been asked by Bob Feller to take part in his annual off-season tour. "Why doesn't Feller stay on his own ball club?" Yawkey asked.

Strengths

Hitting ability.

Weaknesses

Speed

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)...

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.

Williams the Manager

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.

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.

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.

Holding Out...For Less

Williams held out in the early part of the 1955 season. It wasn't because he wanted more money from the Red Sox - it was because he wanted less. He was in the midst of a divorce, and fearing a large baseball salary would complicate the settlement, he declined to report and earn his paycheck. Finally, however, he ended up paying the piper - the court ordered Williams pay $50,000 per year, give up his $42,000 home, pay the $6,000 court costs, and turn over his 1954 Cadillac to his ex-wife.

Notes

From September 17 through September 23, Williams reached based in 16 straight plate appearances over six games. The streak started with a pinch-hit homer. He was finally halted on September 24 by Washington's Hal Griggs, when he grounded to second on a 3-2 count in first at-bat. Williams was back at it the next time up, however, when he belted his 38th homer. The next night, Ted was 2-for-3 to raise his average to .387 and clinch his fifth batting title. At 39 years old, he became the oldest player to win the crown.

 

Teams Ted Williams Managed

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



Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1939

Ted Williams
Mickey Vernon
Bob Elliott
Bob Kennedy
Early Wynn
Hal Newhouser
Dizzy Trout
Fred Hutchinson
Johnny Hopp


Related Players

Joe DiMaggio, Carl Yastrzemski, Rip Sewell, Lou Boudreau... Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines are the only players besides Williams to steal a base in four different decades... In 1958, Williams hit at a torrid .403 pace over his last 55 games to edge teammate Pete Runnels for the batting title.


Hall of Fame Voting

Year     Election     Votes     Pct
1966     BBWAA     282     93.4%


Post-Season Appearances

1946 World Series

Awards and Honors
1942 AL Triple Crown
1946 AL MVP
1947 AL Triple Crown
1949 AL MVP


Milestones

    * May 21, 1942: 100th HR...

    * April 29, 1948: 200th HR...

    * May 15, 1951: 300th HR...

    * July 17, 1956: 400th HR...

    * June 17, 1960: 500th HR... Hit his milestone homer against Wynn Hawkins.

Batting Feats


    * July 14, 1946: 3 HR...

    * July 21, 1946: Cycle...

    * May 8, 1957: 3 HR...

    * June 13, 1957: 3 HR...

Home Run Facts


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

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).


Hall of Fame Artifacts

Several of his bats, as well as his Boston Red Sox jersey and uniform. The Hall of Fame also has fishing equipment used and designed by Williams.

All-Star Selections
1940 AL
1941 AL
1942 AL
1946 AL
1947 AL
1948 AL
1949 AL
1950 AL
1951 AL
1953 AL
1954 AL
1955 AL
1956 AL
1957 AL
1958 AL
1959 AL
1960 AL

 

 

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Tagged:
1946 World Series, All Star, Boston Red Sox, Hall of Fame, Manager, Members of the 500 Home Run Club, Negro League, Ted Williams, Washington Senators

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