Ted Williams

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Ted Williams : biography

30 August 1918 – 05 July 2002

In , Williams was playing in his eighth All-Star Game. In the first inning, Williams caught a line drive by Ralph Kiner, slamming into the Comiskey Park scoreboard and breaking his left arm. Williams played the rest of the game, and he even singled in a run to give the American League the lead in the eighth inning, but by that time Williams’ arm was a "balloon" and he was in great pain, so he left the game.Williams & Underwood, p. 167 Both of the doctors who X-rayed Williams held little hope for a full recovery. The doctors operated on Williams for two hours.Williams & Underwood, p. 168 When Williams took his cast off, he could only extend the arm to within four inches of his right arm.Williams & Underwood, p. 169 Williams only played 89 games in 1950. After the baseball season, Williams’ elbow hurt so much he considered retirement, since he thought he would never be able to hit again. Tom Yawkey, the Red Sox owner, then sent Jack Fadden to Williams’ Florida home to talk to Williams. Williams later thanked Fadden for saving his career.Linn, p. 241

In , Williams "struggled" to hit .318, with his elbow still hurting.Williams & Underwood, p. 172 Williams also played in 148 games, sixty more than Williams had played the previous season, 30 home runs, two more than he had hit in 1950, and 126 RBIs, twenty-nine more than 1950. Despite his lower-than-usual production at bat, Williams made the All-Star team. On May 15, 1951, Williams became the 11th player in major league history to hit 300 career home runs. On May 21, Williams passed Chuck Klein for 10th place, on May 25 Williams passed Rogers Hornsby for 9th place, and on July 5 Williams passed Al Simmons for 8th place all-time in career home runs. After the season, manager Steve O’Neill was fired, with Lou Boudreau replacing him. Boudreau’s first announcement as manager was that all Red Sox players were "expendable", including Williams.

1952–1955

Williams name was called from a list of inactive reserves to serve in the Korean War on January 9, 1952. Williams, who was livid at his recalling, had a physical scheduled for April 2.Montville, p. 152 Williams passed his physical, and was named a Captain in the Marine Corps after only playing in six games. Right before he left for Korea, the Red Sox had a "Ted Williams Day" in Fenway Park. Friends of Williams gave him a Cadillac, and the Red Sox gave Williams a memory book that was signed by 400,000 fans. The Governor of Massachusetts and Mayor of Boston were there, along with a Korean veteran in a wheelchair. At the end of the ceremony, everyone in the park held hands and sang "Auld Lang Syne" to Williams, a moment which he later said "moved me quite a bit".Williams & Underwood, p. 174 The Red Sox went on to win 5-3 thanks to a two-run home run by Williams in the seventh inning. Williams, after returning from the Korean War in August , practiced with the Red Sox for ten days before playing in his first game back, garnering a large ovation from the crowd and hitting a home run in the eighth inning.Williams & Underwood, p. 186 In the season, Williams ended up hitting .407 with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs in 37 games and 110 at bats. On September 6, Williams hit his 332nd career home run, passing Hank Greenberg for seventh all-time.

On the first day of spring training in , Williams broke his collarbone running after a line drive. Williams was out for six weeks, and in April he wrote an article with Joe Reichler of the Saturday Evening Post saying that he intended to retire at the end of the season.Williams & Underwood, p. 187 Williams returned to the Red Sox lineup on May 7, and he hit .345 with 386 at bats in 117 games, although Bobby Ávila, who had hit .341, won the batting championship. This was because it was required then that a batter needed 400 at bats, despite Lou Boudreau’s attempt to bat Williams second in the lineup to get more at-bats.Williams & Underwood, p. 188 On August 25, Williams passed Johnny Mize for sixth place, and on September 3, Williams passed Joe DiMaggio for fifth all-time in career home runs with his 362nd career home run. He finished the season with 366 career home runs. On September 26, Williams "retired" after the Red Sox’s final game of the season.Montville, p. 189