The baseball season has really got us hooked to the screens and Major League is simply unavoidable. While we’re supporting specific teams and glorifying the players, let’s rewind back to the life of one of the pioneers of this sport. Yes, we’re talking about none other Ted Williams. Let us look back into his contribution to this game.
Theodore Samuel Williams was a renowned American baseball player and manager. His career was 19-year long and he was a part of Boston Red Sox as a left fielder. He played right from 1939 to 1960, but there came a time where he had to serve in the military during World War II and the Korean War.
How Ted Williams took up baseball
Ted had an early interest in baseball, which probably made him so good at it. He joined Red Sox when he was 21 years old and the team found an asset that turned to be one of the best hitters.
In 1941, merely three years into the team, Ted had a batting average of .406 – he became the last ever player to bat over .400 in one season. This got him the first 1942 Triple Crown. However, in 1943 his life had taken a new turn, and he had to serve the US Navy during WWII.
In 1946, he came back to his team like he was never gone and played like he found his life back. His hard hits got him the first Most Valuable Player Award and also the next Triple Crown.
Yet again, for 1952-53 the baseball champion had to turn into a Marine combat aviator for the Korean War. He soon came back to pick up his bat and went onto winning the AL championships. By 1958, when he was 40 years old, he had already got six of these awards.
Ted Williams retired from baseball in 1960 and was admitted under the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. He managed the franchise of Texas Rangers Washington Senators and between 1969 and 1972.
Apart from baseball, he loved the sport of fishing and hosted a TV show on this niche. He was then inducted in the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame too.
The famous Homer of 1939
During the winters of 1939, Red Sox let go Ben Chapman who was the right fielder that time and made space of Ted. Chapman had a good record but Williams didn’t disappoint the team’s decision. He took over the number 9 that was on Chapman’s uniform instead of number 5 that he wore during his spring training.
Ted made his MLB debut against NY Yankees and was the only game that Ted and Lou Gehrig played against each other. Ted made records by hitting a double, triple, and a home run in his first ever series at Fenway Park. The double and home run was against Cotton Pippen who had stroke him out during his early days at San Diego.
By the middle of the year, Ted was hitting .280 already and led the league in RBIs. He had befriended Johnny Orlando who said that Ted had the potential to make .335 with 35 home runs and that’d make him score around 150 runs. Williams was gleeful and said he’d gift his friend a Cadillac if it actually happened. Later, Williams hit .327 with 31 home runs and 145 RBIs. This made the team lead in the league and he was also the first ever rookie to make such a mark at the RBIs.
Williams was in the 4th position under MVP voting and then he led AL with 107 and an all-new rookie record. There wasn’t any Rookie award, but Babe Ruth stated that Ted would have won that if there was an award as such. He took it as a token of appreciation and was glad to do this well.
Accolades received by Ted Williams
Ted was so good in his game, that people gave him several names likes The Splendid Splinter, The Thumper, Teddy Ballgame, and The Kid. You’d be surprised to know he has a record of winning the All-Star award for 19 times. He also won the Most Valuable Player Award from American League two times. Ted also received the AL batting champion award for 6 times and a couple of Triple Crown awards.
In his entire career, Williams had an average batting score of .344 and took 521 runs (home). His on-base percentage was .482 – and the highest ever! Ted’s batting career is higher than any Major League Baseball player who played during the live-ball era. He ranked at par with Billy Hamilton and they were both at the 7th position.
Apart from his baseball career, Ted took interest in raising the Jimmy Fund that raised millions of dollars for cancer research and care. In 1991, US President George Bush presented Ted the honor of Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is the highest civilian award offered by the US Government. He was also selected for the MLB’s All-Time Team in 1997 and then the All-Century Team in 1999.
The Legacy of Ted Williams
Ted Williams is an inspiration who not only got his country several victories but also served his nation during a crisis. Young baseball players try to follow his idea, but cannot bring back that era that shaped such strong personalities.
Ted Williams loved swinging the bat and hitting the ball. He used to usually carry light bats as they swung fast and far. After his retirement, he still was closely related to the world of sports and contributed in several ways to use his power and position in the right way.
Most modern analysis on legendary baseball players usually bring up names like Bonds and Ruth with Williams. They were the most potent hitters in their era. However, the journey of Ted’s life has left an unmatched story of victory and valor. Players still look up to the legend as they gear up to offer their best with every game.