After finishing one win short in 1948 and one win short in 1949, mustering what it took to gear up for the 1950 season could not have been easy. The 1950 Red Sox, however, had one of the best hitting teams in the history of the game. For starters, the team batting average was .302.

The leading batter in the American League was Billy Goodman, and if you asked what position he played, you couldn’t get a clear answer. He was a utilityman, who played all four infield positions, and then got a lot of time in left field after Ted Williams suffered an injury in midseason.

Ted had been on his way to a monster year before the All-Star break; he already had 83 RBIs in the half-season and 25 home runs. As it was, he drove in 97 in just 89 games. But double the figures from the first half of the year, and Ted would have 50 homers and 166 RBIs. And the Red Sox probably would have had a pennant.

It was a break that did Ted in – a broken elbow suffered in the first inning of the 1950 All-Star Game when he crashed into the Comiskey Park wall. He knew it was sore, and hurt, but he didn’t know it was broken, so he played all the way through the eighth inning, making plays in left and singling in a go-ahead run in the fifth inning.

When he came back late in the season, Goodman was going to be without a place to play, but Johnny Pesky (who was hitting .312) offered to sit out so that Goodman could amass enough at-bats to qualify for the batting crown.

Walt Dropo hit .322 and drove in 144 runs (one fewer than the major-league record set in 1939 by Ted Williams), leading the league in RBIs (tied with teammate Vern Stephens). Dropo’s 34 home runs remains a Red Sox rookie record. Unsurprisingly, Dropo was named AL Rookie of the Year.

By Bill Nowlin

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