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Something new came to Fenway Park in 1947 – seven light towers were erected, allowing the first night games at the ballpark. There weren’t that many at first, but over the years the number of night games in a given season saw baseball become largely a night-time event.
The 1947 season saw Ted Williams win another Triple Crown. He led the league with a .343 batting average, with 32 home runs, and 114 runs batted in, not to mention runs scored (125), walks (156), total bases (335), and on-base percentage (.499), slugging percentage (.634).
As had been the case in 1942, Ted won the Triple Crown based on objective accomplishments, but the MVP reflected the subjective evaluation (and prejudices) of the baseball writers. As in 1942, a Yankee beat out The Kid: Joe DiMaggio, who led the league in nothing at all. But the Yankees won the pennant and Joe was a key cog in the Yankees machine.
Ted’s average was 28 points higher than Joe, he hit 12 more homers, and he drove in 17 more runs. For the third time, The Sporting News named Williams as Major League Player of the Year.
And for the third season in a row, even despite the loss of three intervening years to military service, Johnny Pesky hit more than 200 hits. He finished second in runs scored, with 106. Despite a low .258 batting average, Bobby Doerr ranked second in RBIs (95), runs scored (75), and home runs (17).
The Sox drew well again, marginally better than in 1946, but the team finished third, 83-71. The Yankees were so strong that even second-place Detroit was 12 games behind. Boston was two games behind the Tigers.
The letdown came from the pitchers, many of whom suffered sore arms, chief among them Ferriss and Hughson, the two stalwarts of ‘46. After combining for 45 wins in 1946, they both put up 12-11 seasons, Ferriss with a 4.04 ERA and Hughson with 3.33. Earl Johnson had the same record, too: 12-11. It seemed like a theme. Joe Dobson was tops among the pitchers, 18-8 with a 2.95 earned run average. And the man who was treated roughly in the final game of the 1948 season – Denny Galehouse – had a good 11-7 season, with a 3.32 ERA.
On November 17, the Red Sox sent Pete Layden, Joe Ostrowski, Roy Partee, Eddie Pellagrini, Al Widmar, Jim Wilson, and $310,000 of Tom Yawkey’s money to the St. Louis Browns for two outstanding additions: right-handed pitcher Jack Kramer and infielder Vern Stephens.By Bill Nowlin