Red Sox fans of all ages know the name and many of the feats of the great Hall of Fame player, Ted Williams. Today marks the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Theodore Samuel Williams was born in San Diego on August 30, 1918, was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1936, and made his major league debut in 1939, when he set a rookie season record for most RBI (145).
Williams would play all 19 seasons of his career with Boston, missing 1943-45 for Military Service. In all but two seasons of his career Williams was selected as an American League All-Star. He was the American League MVP in 1946 and again in 1949 and won the AL Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947.
In all, Williams led the league in batting six times, in home runs four times, in total bases five times, in walks eight times, and in slugging percentage nine times.
Over his long career Williams slashed .344/.482/.634, including a remarkable .406 AVG over 143 games in 1941. Williams is one of just four major league players ever to have stolen bases in 4 decades (also Tim Raines, Sr., Rickey Henderson, and Omar Vizquel).
Records Still Stand
Teddy Ballgame remains No. 1 in Red Sox history for home runs (521), walks (2,021), batting average (.344), on-base percentage (.482), and slugging (.634). His OPS, a measure of his ability to get on base and to hit for power, is an all-time club best of 1.116. In fact, among all players with 650+ career games, Williams’ career OPS is the second for all-time behind only Babe Ruth‘s 1.164 mark.
Williams had eight seasons with 30+ home runs and nine seasons with 100+ RBI. Only David Ortiz had more such seasons in Sox history (10 seasons for 30+ HR and 100+ RBI).
At home at Fenway, Williams is the still the all-time leader in home runs (248), walks (1,031), and on-base percentage (.496). Among players with at least 100 games at Fenway, Williams is tops for all-time in slugging percentage (.652).
In 1969 and again in 1982 the fans voted Ted Williams the Greatest Red Sox Player of all time.
Ted Williams played his last game September 28, 1960. He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, capturing 282 of 302 ballots. Ted’s No. 9 was formerly retired at Fenway Park on May 29, 1984. Williams died on July 5, 2002 in Inverness, Florida at age 83.