Teddy Ballgame

56-williams

 

A while back, I wrote a column called “70 Reasons Why I Love Baseball”. If I had to add a 71st reason, it would be the opportunity to be around real baseball fans.

 

In the 1991 film, “City Slickers”, Billy Crystal’s character is sitting around the cattle-drive campfire discussing baseball with the other guys. The one girl in the conversation says, “I like baseball. I just never understood how you guys can spend so much time discussing it. I mean I think the game is great but I don’t memorize who played 3B for Pittsburgh in 1960”. The guys then yell in unison, “Don Hoak!”

 

That is the atmosphere here today with this group of people. All I have to do is say “.406” and you immediately know who I’m talking about.

 

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Boston going to Fenway Park, watching and idolizing Ted Williams. So, today, we’ll spend a few minutes talking about my childhood hero. If you’re ever in Surprise, you have an open invitation to come to my home and see “The Williams Shrine” including autographs, memorabilia and baseball cards

 

BIO

 

  • Born 1918…San Diego
  • Signed 1936
  • ’37 San Diego (age 18) – .291, 23 HR
  • ’38 Minneapolis (age 19) – .366, 43 HR, 143 RBI’s, Triple Crown
  • MLB Debut 1939
  • 1939-1960
  • Hall of Fame 1966 (282/302 ballots)

 

STATS

 

  • ’39 – .327 & 145 RBI – 4th in MVP
  • ’40 – .344 – led AL in Runs & OBP
  • ’41 – .406, 37 HR, 147 BB – 2nd in MVP, as DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak swayed the voting…there was no Sacrifice Fly rule at the time or he would have hit.411…prior to 1888, when a walk counted as a hit, his BA would have been .540
  • ’42 – .356, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 145 BB – 2nd in MVP to Joe Gordon despite winning the Triple Crown…OPS+ was 217-to-155…WAR was 10.6-to-8.2
  • ’43-’45 Military
  • ’46 – .342, 1.164 OPS – MVP
  • ’47 – .343, 32 HR, 114 RBI – 2nd in MVP to DiMaggio despite winning Triple Crown…OPS+ was 205-to-154…WAR was 9.9-to-4.8
  • ’48 – .369, 1.112 OPS – 3rd in MVP behind Boudreau & DiMaggio
  • ’49 – .343, 43 HR, 159 RBI, MVP
  • ’50 – Injured, 28 HR in 89 Games
  • ’51 – .318, 144 BB, led AL IN OBP & Slugging
  • ’52 – Korea – John Glenn was his wingman

 

“He did a great job as a pilot. He wasn’t out there moaning all the time or trying to duck flights or anything like that. He was out there to do a job and he did a helluva job. Ted only batted .406 for the Red Sox…he batted a thousand for the Marine Corps and the United States”.

 

 

  • ’53 – Korea, August / September stats = .407, 13 HR’s in 110 AB’s at age 34
  • ’54 – 117 Games, .345 – Bobby Avila won the batting title at .341 because Ted was walked 136 times and didn’t have enough AB’s to qualify…the rule has since been changed
  • ’55 – 98 Games, .356
  • ’56 – .345 & .479 OBP
  • ’57 – .388 with a 1.257 OPS to finish 2nd in MVP to Mantle…Ted was 38
  • ’58 – .328 (6th Batting Title) & 1.042 OPS
  • ’59 – 103 Games, .254
  • ’60 – 113 Games, .316, 29 HR including #521 in his final AB against Jack Fisher

 

Lifetime Stats

 

  • BA .344 (7th)
  • OBP .4817 (1st)
  • Slugging .6338 (2nd to Ruth)
  • OPS 1.1155 (2nd to Ruth)
  • 2021 BB, 709 SO
  • WAR 123.1 (11th)
  • Runs Created 2382 (6th)
  • OW% .857 (Ruth .858)
  • Projection – 3,553 Hits, 701 HR

 

BASEBALL CARDS (Value in EX 5 condition)

 

  • 1939 PLAYBALL RC – $2,000
  • 1951 BOWMAN – $275
  • 1954 BOWMAN (replaced by Piersall) – $900
  • 1954 TOPPS (2) – $275 each
  • 1955 TOPPS – $220
  • 1956 TOPPS – $180
  • 1957 TOPPS – $185
  • 1958 TOPPS – $165
  • 1958 TOPPS ALL-STAR – $50
  • 1959 FLEER (80 CARD SET) – $800
  • MODERN CARDS

 

 

FISHERMAN – Sear’s spokesman, HOF in 2002

 

JIMMY FUND – Dana Farber Cancer Institute

 

ROBERT REDFORD – THE NATURAL – ROY HOBBS #9

 

1936 YANKEE SCOUTING REPORT – “Williams is a very slow lad, not a good OF and just an average arm. There is big doubt whether Williams will ever be fast enough to get by in the majors as an OF. His best feature now is that he shows promise as a hitter, but good pitching so far has stopped him cold”.

 

HALL OF FAME INDUCTION SPEECH (’66)

 

> “I’ve been a very lucky guy to have worn a baseball uniform, and I hope some day the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in some way can be added as a symbol of the great Negro League players who are not here only because they weren’t given a chance”.

 

QUOTES

 

  • I’ve seen six or eight guys in my life that I thought absolutely had as much ability as I did. Still, they didn’t do all that well. Why not? Intenseness. Those guys would see something 40 different times and not get anything out of it. The next guy sees it in his own mind and uses it…that’s the difference.
  • I have to rate Feller as one of the all-time greats. Fast, just deadly fast. Feller, Whitey Ford, Bob Lemon, Eddie Lopat & Hoyt Wilhelm – the five toughest pitchers I ever faced.
  • Mickey Mantle was the greatest single ballplayer of all the athletes I’ve ever met. He was as down to earth as anyone. Never had a braggadocios vein in his body. He could do everything…hit farther than any body, switch hitter. But he thought everybody in the world was better than him.
  • The bigger people are in life, the more big-league they are. That’s been my experience…you meet less shits the higher up you go.
  • Hitting is 50% above the shoulders.
  • If I was paid $30,000 a year, the least I could do was hit .400
  • Rogers Hornsby gave me the single greatest advice of hitting I ever got…wait for a good pitch to hit.
  • Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.
  • Ya gotta be ready for the fastball.
  • Pitchers are dumb. They don’t play but once every four days. They’re scratching their ass or pickin’ their nose or somethin’ the rest of the time. They’re pitchin’, most of them, because they can’t do anything else.
  • Sixty feet six inches…if it had been two feet either way, it would have changed the whole thing.
  • I’m a real smart son of a bitch. I’m an old dumb ballplayer and a real smart son of a bitch.
  • My goal was to have people say, “There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived”.

 

A baseball writer once asked a blind fan why he came to the game instead of just listening to the radio at home and he replied, “I love the sounds of the game when Ted comes up”.

 

 

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