Ted Williams

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
#1
Some say Ted Williams is one of the best hitters to ever play the game. He once hit .400 in a season. He was a two time MVP, and won a two time Triple Crown winner.

The season where he hit .400 he was hitting .395 the day of his last game, then he had a double header that day and he was 6-8, after the first game he was hitting .400, and the manager wanted him to sit the last game but he refused.

A lesser-known accomplishment is Williams' 1949 record feat of reaching base for the most consecutive games, 84. In addition, Williams holds the third longest such streak of 69 in 1941. In 1957, Williams reached base in 16 consecutive plate appearances, also a major-league record.

Dimmagio and Williams will be forever link in my opinion. Williams said that he was the better hitter, but Dimmagio was the best overall player. Williams lack foot speed, he only had 24 stolen bases in his career.

Side Note: Williams holds the record for the longest home run to be hit in Fenway Park.

Discuss about Teddy Ball Game
 
#2
Oh, MJ, I have so, so much work done on Williams, and I'd be happy to post it here. First:

Some questions asked on Ted Williams:

1. How good was Williams's seeing?

According to numerous records, Williams seeing was one of the best, if not the best, seeing any ball player has ever had.

Everyone knows that Williams had an amazing eye at the plate. The Navy doctor that checked his sight before his enlistment in 1942 said he had "20 -10" vision. Stories have circulated that Ted could have read a phonograph record label while it was still spinning and he could see ducks approaching before his fellow hunters. His ability to tell a ball from a strike is legendary, and he almost never needed a strike to be called a ball in his career. "They always claim that most great hitters get a fourth strike," said Hank Aaron. "Ted didn't get no fourth strike, it was just that he knew where the strike zone was, and he didn't swing at anything outside the strike zone." Opposing pitchers where almost convinced that Ted could see the stitches on approaching pitches and instantly computed what the ball was going to do. Williams claimed he saw things so well because of his "intensity". "It takes a hell of a lot more than just a good eye to hit .400 in the big leagues. There were plenty of occasions when I couldn't see well and I still got four hits." But he also admitted that sight has a lot to do with good hitting. Ted once claimed that the plate at Fenway was out of line. The grounds crew checked the plate and, sure enough, Ted was right. Williams had absolutuly amazing eye sight.

2. How good were Williams other senses?

Williams other senses were almost as good as his legendary seeing.

As for his ears, many have claimed Ted could pick out one boo out of a croud of cheers from one "leather-lunged fan". Hank Aaron was amazed at Ted's hearing. "The first time I saw Ted was when I played an exhibition against the Red Sox, when I hit a homer off of Ike Delock. Ted said 'Boy, I was in the clubhouse when I heard the crack of the bat and I said - Lord, I've gotta go look! - and I knew immeadiately it was one of the longest homers ever hit at the Sox training sight at Sarasota'. I'd always heard about Williams' baseball savvy, and right then and there, I could appreciate exactly what he meant." Ted could tell a Foxx homer from a Mantle homer from an Aaron homer the way a wine connoissuer can pick out a particular fine wine.

Williams' sense of touch is also legendary. A bat had to have the right feel, the right wieght. If a bat nob was a thousandth of an inch off, Ted would send it right back to the factory. He used to have occasional pilgremages to the Louisville Slugger factory to pick out the right wood for his bats. He would use a bone to harden the grain in his bats. "I treated them like babies", he said in his biography My Turn at Bat.

As a part of of a cover for Sports Illustrated in 1986, Ted was shown with two of the greatest hitters of the day: Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs. During there discussion, Williams said that a few times in his career he could actually smell burning wood when he just barely tipped a good fastball. While Mattingly and Boggs thought Ted was fooling, he was actually serious. According to some calculations, the bat speed that would have generated for such an act of spontaneous combustion is just plain mind-boggling.

Williams taste, although not having to do with baseball, has also been reported as moderatly insane. In 1946 Mel Webb of the Boston Globe reported that one night Williams consumed the following: three shrimp cocktails, three cups of fish powder, one 1 1/2-thick inch steak, ten rolls, one pound of butter, two orders of string beans, two 2 1/2-pound broiled lobsters, one chef's salad, three ice creams with chocolate sauce, and an "indeterminate amount" of iced tea.

How much did Ted and the media hate each other?

Ted and the media are, in my opinion, the Yankees and Red Sox of the newspaper. The media, during Williams career, would constantly write that Williams was always trying to steal someone else's job - the manager's, the owner's, the radio booth announcer's, anyone's. Williams of course was not trying to steal any jobs, but the media seemed to hate him enough to say some of those nasty things. The media also wrote that Williams didn't hit in the clutch, yet Williams drove in more runs per at bat than anyone else in history but Babe Ruth and got on base more times than anyone including Babe Ruth. After Williams returned from his career-threatning elbow injury in 1950, the Red Sox, who had been doing very well in the time that Williams was recovering, started to decline just a bit and eventually lost pennant on the last day. Sure enough, the media wrote "The Red Sox do better without Williams". They wrote he wasn't he wasn't a "team man". They wrote he was "jealous". They wrote he was "alienated". He was this, he was that. So on. And so unfair.

Did Williams really hate the fans?

Most would say: Oh, that Teddy Ballgame sure loved those fans, alright. He spit and screamed and even threw a bat at them. This is what I like to call ignorance. If you really look at Williams' career in depth, you can see the real reason he did some of those things to the fans. First, most fans treated Williams like dirt, on account of that old, evil Boston media. Would you really like someone who calls you a selfish, son a b*tch that doesn't care about the team after you've just hit a homer that put your club ahead? Second, we find that Williams was a very tempramental ball player. He would blow up, not acting but reacting. He'd get so darn mad he'd throw bats, kick the columns in the dugout so sparks flew, tear out plumbing, knock out lights and nearly kill himself. He'd scream out of frustration, not out of hate for the fans.

Once, he nearly ended his career before it started because of his anger of failure. It was in Minneapolis. It was 1938, the year before he went to play for Boston. He was leading the American Association in everything - runs, hits, RBIs, homers, everything. Lloyd Brown was pitching for St. Paul. Brown was a short, tough pitcher with a good curve. Ted got him to 3 and 1 in the first inning, bases loaded, two outs. Brown threw the fastball, right there. If Ted had gotten a little more of the ball, it would have gone 440 feet, but he just missed it, and popped out to the first baseman to end the inning. Boy, he's mad now. He went back to the bench so frusterated he didn't know what to do. Unfortunatly, there was a big water cooler right next to him, about half full. Williams then punched the thing just so hard with his fist. It sounded like a cannon went off in the dugout. Blood and glass flew everywhere. He was lucky he didn't cut his hand off. One piece of glass went pretty deep and just missed a nerve in Ted's hand. He could of ended his career right there. Luckily, it wasn't even enough to take him out of the game. That just shows you how angry he could get and how intense he was.

Simply put, Williams did not hate most fans more than any other player would.
 

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
#3
Here's an article that I found today that I found pretty interesting:

And that “Toots,” a documentary about legendary Big Apple barman Toots Shor that will open in Boston next month, contains a fascinating piece of Red Sox [team stats]-Yankees trivia that could have altered baseball history. Seems then-Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and former Yankees owner Dan Topping got hammered in Toots’ joint one night and decided to swap Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. They even shook on it. The next morning, Yawkey realized his mistake and called Topping, who now had second thoughts himself, and the whole thing was off.

http://www.bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view.bg?articleid=1032017
 
#4
Williams hits .400!

A tribute to one of the greatest hitting feats ever accomplished.

From The Sporting News, October 9th, 1941:


Quote:
A Salute to Ted Williams​
A tribute to Ted Williams for sticking it to the finish, and for refusing the last two games of the season so that he would be certain to wind up with a .400
batting average, was paid by Al Hirshberg of the Boston Post who declared: "Give credit to the kid -- he did it the hard way."

Left to play six unipmortant games, second place already clinched, there was nothing at stake as far as the Yawkeys were concerned, so Cronin went to Williams and said that if the kid didn't want to play the remainder of the season to protect his mark, the club would be fine with it. The fans, who all wanted to see Ted end up with an average of two hits per five at bats, would have understood the sitiuation perfectly.

Williams didn't want to get there that way. The tall Sox slugger had nothing whatsoever to gain by playing during the last week of a dead pennant race. He had everthing to lose. He decided to take his chances. It nearly cost him his bid for immortality. Williams went into a slump. His precious mark fell to .401. All that was left was a weekend visit to Philadelphia, a single game and a double header. The mark was still over .400 and could be protected. Cronin still gave him a chance to renege.

He elected to play again, average or no average. Saturday's game nearly spelled diasaster. He was up four times and got one lone hit. Worst of all, he was now at .3995. So he was forced to play in Sunday's twin bill, although he still would have, .3995 or .401. The chips were down this time. It was then the kid showed he had it. He got four for five in the first game and two for three in the second game. He wound up at .406.

And he wound up with the satisfaction of knowing that no one now could ever point to him and say he had taken advantage of a chance to protect an average he didn't want to jeopardize. Ten years from now no one would have noticed Williams, a .406 hitter in 1941, had played the last few games of the season or not. No one, for that matter, would have cared. But the kid wouldn't have it. And he did not want to spend the rest of his life aruing with himself.
 

The_Kid

Sexy Beast
#5
Williams's quotes on Red Sox players:

"He wasn't as smart as he should have been and never knew when he was doing it right ... but Bobby [Doerr] said he had the best single season he'd ever seen, and Bobby played with me for 10 years! - Ted on Carl Yastrzemski

"He hit as if he had two strikes on him all the time. He was as strong as a bull, but he was swinging when he left the bench - Ted on Jim Rice

"If production is the yardstick of a great hitter, and I scincerely believe it is, then Jimmie Foxx must be the Henry Ford of hitters. He hit balls out of sight." - Ted on Jimmie Foxx

"I personally think Babe Ruth had to be the greatest player of all time. He was not only a great slugger - the greatest slugger the game has or will ever see - but he was also a great pitcher ... one of the greatest of all time" - Ted on Babe Ruth

"When I watch Dwight at the plate, it makes me want to vomit" - Ted on Dwight Evans and his fidgeting at the plate

"He's as good a young player as anyone I've ever seen come into the big leagues. He went to Georgia Tech where he was on the Dean's list and when I finished talking with him, I felt I was on the Dean's list of hitting. I asked him my usual questions about all the aspects of hitting ... and he knew everything. He's really a brilliant kid." - Ted on Nomar Garciaparra

"If he's selective, he can hit down the left-field line and he can hit down the right-field line; but if he's fooled, the Babe himself can't hit the ball ... He seems to have a plan when he comes to the plate, unlike many of today's young hitters" - Ted on Mo Vaughn

"Boggs is a very smart hitter. He makes the pitchers pitch. If he's fooled, he doesn't fool with the pitch. When he's got two strikes on him, he'll go inside out, inside out. He has that much facility hitting with two strikes .... In batting practice, Boggs will put a hell of a long ball show on for you in the bleachers, but in a game, - phip! phip! phip! - he tries to spray the ball." - Ted on Wade Boggs

"Tris Speaker was capable of doing a little bit more as a hitter than he did, because he played almost ten years in the lively ball era and still didn't hit as many homers as he should of ... Homers where not his priority, I guess. He was considered to be in the aristocracy of baseball, and in my mind he belongs in the aristocracy of hitters' - Ted on Tris Speaker

"C'mon, you blond bum! I don't want to stand here in the sun all day." - Ted, on first base, to Jackie Jensen at the plate (Jensen homered on the next pitch)


Quotes on Ted Williams

An outfield composed of (Ty) Cobb, (Tris) Speaker and (Babe) Ruth, even with Ruth, lacks the combined power of (Joe) DiMaggio, (Stan) Musial and (Ted) Williams." - Connie Mack

"Did they tell me how to pitch to (Ted) Williams? Sure they did. It was great advice, very encouraging. They said he had no weakness, won't swing at a bad ball, has the best eyes in the business, and can kill you with one swing. He won't hit anything bad, but don't give him anything good." - Bobby Shantz

"He could hit better with a broken arm than we could with two good arms." - Jerry Coleman

"If he'd just tip he cap once, he could be elected Mayor of Boston in five minutes." - Eddie Collins

"I got a big charge out of seeing Ted Williams hit. Once in a while they let me try to field some of them, which sort of dimmed my enthusiasm." - Rocky Bridges

"I'm very pleased and very proud of my accomplishments, but I'm most proud of that (hitting four-hundred home runs and three-thousand hits). Not (Ted) Williams, not (Lou) Gehrig, not (Joe) DiMaggio did that. They were Cadillacs and I'm a Chevrolet." - Carl Yastrzemski

"In baseball, there is something electrifying about the big leagues. I had read so much about (Stan) Musial, (Ted) Williams and (Jackie) Robinson. I had put those guys on a pedestal. They were something special. I really thought they put their pants on different, rather than one leg at a time." - Hank Aaron

"It was typical of him to become a Marine Air Corps pilot and see action and almost get shot down. He was a remarkable American as well as a remarkable ballplayer. His passing so close to a national holiday seems part of a divine plan, so we can always remember him not only as a great player but also as a great patriot." - Vin Scully

"One of my best friends on earth and the greatest hitter I ever faced. And I faced a lot of guys, including Lou Gehrig. He was also a great friend to my wife Anne and me. He was a great American." - Bob Feller

"Ted's (Williams) passing signals a sad day, not only for baseball fans, but for every American. He was a cultural icon, a larger-than-life personality. He was great enough to become a Hall of Fame player. He was caring enough to be the first Hall of Famer to call for the inclusion of Negro Leagues stars in Cooperstown. He was brave enough to serve our country as a Marine in not one but two global conflicts. Ted Williams is a hero for all generations." - Dale Petroskey (President of the Baseball Hall of Fame)

"Ted (Williams) was everything that was right about the game of baseball. If you really think about it, he was everything that is right about this country. It is certainly a sad day for all of us. He is a man who lost five years of service time serving his country. What he could have done with those years in the prime of his life ... it would be awesome to really put those numbers together. He would have probably been the greatest power hitter of all time." - Pirates Manager Lloyd McClendon

"Ted (Williams) was the greatest hitter of our era. He won six batting titles and served his country for five years, so he would have won more. He loved talking about hitting and was a great student of hitting and pitchers." - Stan Musial

"The way those clubs shift against Ted Williams, I can't understand how he can be so stupid not to accept the challenge to him and hit to left field." - Ty Cobb

"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 (Ted) 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

"When you're a kid, what fun the game is! You grab a bat and glove and ball, that's it. I know what Ted Williams and Stan Musial meant when they said it got tougher to get in shape every year." - Eddie Mathews

"(Ted) Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill." - John Updike
 

The_Kid

Sexy Beast
#6
If anyone has any questions about Williams, please feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to answer them.
 

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
#7
I heard that Billy Martin and Ted Williams had a big fued and couldn't stand eachother. What was the story between this? Why did they hate eachother so much?
 
B

BaseballHistoryNut

Guest
#8
If anyone has any questions about Williams, please feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to answer them.
Yeah, I have a question:

What, in your opinion, are the reasons why Williams has gone from being: (1) the most thoroughly hated great player since Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby, which he was for virtually his entire career, in Boston as well as on the road; to (2) probably the most beloved player since World War II?

Bill James thinks it's because Williams was a war hero--which is a lot truer as to Korea than it is as to WWII--and because Williams took a heroically positive stance on Negro Leaguers' joining the Hall of Fame, back when it was a hot-button subject and he made those great remarks at his induction ceremony. James says, in essence, that Cobb's rabid racism has put him on the wrong side of "the long arc of history," while Williams' stance has put him on the right side, but that both men were despised misanthropes with terrible childhoods and chips on their shoulders the size of Saturn.

I don't disagree with any of that, but it takes more than military service and embracing the cause of Negro Leaguers to change a guy's public persona from that of Rogers Hornsby to almost that of Babe Ruth.

What gives? Is it just that so few of us are old enough to remember when Ted Williams was the game's most despised active star? He is certainly the game's greatest-ever case of historical rehabilitation. Why? I'm guessing you're going to say the public had it wrong the first time, and got it right the second time, but this big of a sea change in public image requires some explaining.
 
#9
Yeah, I have a question:

What, in your opinion, are the reasons why Williams has gone from being: (1) the most thoroughly hated great player since Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby, which he was for virtually his entire career, in Boston as well as on the road; to (2) probably the most beloved player since World War II?

Bill James thinks it's because Williams was a war hero--which is a lot truer as to Korea than it is as to WWII--and because Williams took a heroically positive stance on Negro Leaguers' joining the Hall of Fame, back when it was a hot-button subject and he made those great remarks at his induction ceremony. James says, in essence, that Cobb's rabid racism has put him on the wrong side of "the long arc of history," while Williams' stance has put him on the right side, but that both men were despised misanthropes with terrible childhoods and chips on their shoulders the size of Saturn.

I don't disagree with any of that, but it takes more than military service and embracing the cause of Negro Leaguers to change a guy's public persona from that of Rogers Hornsby to almost that of Babe Ruth.

What gives? Is it just that so few of us are old enough to remember when Ted Williams was the game's most despised active star? He is certainly the game's greatest-ever case of historical rehabilitation. Why? I'm guessing you're going to say the public had it wrong the first time, and got it right the second time, but this big of a sea change in public image requires some explaining.
I actually only partley agree with James. I believe it is because of a few things:

First, as James states, Williams was a war hero, serving in two wars, more than any other player has.

Second, Williams was a man who wasn't popular with the media at all. But that was then, and how do we look at any player who had spats with the media 50 years ago today? In my opinion, we are able to look at the situation more calmly today because we aren't caught up in it today. Abe Lincoln was a very hated president in his day, and now we look at him as one of the greatest that ever lived. So I think that time is also one of the causes why we don't hate him today.

Third, and backing up my second statement even more, was that people didn't look at the "whole" Williams back then, because they were caught up in the matter, IMO. Today, we can look into books and see that the Kid was a man who loved the kids, and one who couldn't turn them down, usually signing autographs at length for them. And today, we really can't look at him and say that he was a "nasty" person. Like most people, he was complex, and he sometimes rubbed things the wrong way, like any of us. Can we really blame a man for making mistakes?

So, in conclusion, I think that time is mostly the reason we have grown to love Williams.
 
B

BaseballHistoryNut

Guest
#10
But it wasn't the media that spat at fans. It wasn't the media that shattered a glass water cooler with a bat while teammates were in the clubhouse. It wasn't the media that refused to acknowledge the applause of those fans who actually like him. It wasn't the media who, when asked about the fact his father bailed on his mother during his childhood, replied, "Well, I wouldn't have wanted to be married to a woman like that, either."

Most people mellow with age, but this guy was like a kid whose high-adrenaline, high-testosterone, super-arrogant adolescence lasted until he was 45 or 50, instead of 18 or 20, then suddenly became a whole different, 10,000% better person.

It's very strange.