What could have been an outstanding outfield of Ted Williams in left, Dom DiMaggio in center, and Jimmy Piersall in right fell short, when they lost Williams to the Marine Corps and Piersall, ultimately, to treatment in a mental health facility.

On January 9, the Marine Corps recalled aircraft pilots Ted Williams and Jerry Coleman of the Yankees to active duty. Ted was 33 years old, with a wife and daughter, and hadn’t flown an airplane since the Second World War, but the Marines had not kept up their staffing and when war broke out on the Korean Peninsula, they were short-handed.

Thought he’d passed his physical and knew he’d be exchanging uniforms, Ted went through spring training with the team and then played in six games, ending with a “Ted Williams Day” held at Fenway Park on April 30. He was presented a baby blue Cadillac, and both the Boston and Detroit teams held hands while singing “Auld Land Syne” in the ceremonies before the game. Ted had already rejected any thought of confining his second tour with the Marines to public relations morale-building work, instead seeking the combat role he had not had in World War II. He later confessed to having a premonition he wouldn’t be coming back from Korea. In what he believed might truly be the last at-bat of his career, he found himself at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied and Dizzy Trout on the mound. Ted lifted a two-run homer, which won the game. He had four 1952 hits in 10 at-bats, his second .400 season.

Speaking of public relations, those between one or two sportswriters and Williams reached a new low when Boston Record columnist Dave Egan declared that civic leaders should “officially horsewhip” Williams rather than honor him, because of the “vicious influence that he had had on the childhood of America.”

On June 3, GM Cronin made a big trade to try and help manager Lou Boudreau. He traded two popular Red Sox players – Johnny Pesky and Walt Dropo – to the Tigers (with Fred Hatfield, Don Lenhardt, and Bill Wight) in a nine-player trade which netted Boston George Kell, Hoot Evers, Johnny Lipon, and the pitcher who Williams had victimized - Dizzy Trout.

By Bill Nowlin

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Bill Wight, Dizzy Trout, Dom DiMaggio, Don Lenhardt, Fred Hatfield, George Kell, Hoot Evers, Jerry Coleman, Jim Piersall, Joe Cronin, Johnny Lipon, Johnny Pesky, Korean War, Lou Boudreau, Ted Williams, Walt Dropo, World War II


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