Ted Williams

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Ted Williams : biography

30 August 1918 – 05 July 2002

While in Minnesota, Williams quickly became the team’s star.Montville, p. 48-49 He collected his first hit on the Millers’ first game of the season, and his first and second home runs on his third game. Both were inside-the-park home runs, while the second traveled an estimated five-hundred feet on the fly to a five-hundred and twelve foot center field fence. Williams later had a twenty-two game hitting streak that lasted from Memorial Day to mid-June. While the Millers ended up sixth place in an eight-team race, Williams ended up hitting .366 with 46 home runs and 142 RBIs while receiving the American Association’s Triple Crown and finishing second in the voting for Most Valuable Player voting.Montville, p. 53

1939–1940

Williams came to spring training three days late in , thanks to Williams driving from California to Florida and respiratory problems, the latter of which would plague Williams for the rest of his career.Montville, p. 56–57 In the winter, the Red Sox traded right fielder Ben Chapman to the Cleveland Indians to make room for Williams on the roster, with Williams inheriting Chapman’s number 9 on his uniform opposed to Williams’ number 5 in the previous spring training, even though Chapman had hit .340 in the previous season,Williams & Underwood, p. 57Montville, p. 57 which led Boston Globe sports journalist Gerry Moore to quip, "Not since Joe DiMaggio broke in with the Yankees by "five for five" in St. Petersberg in 1936 has any baseball rookie received the nationwide publicity that has been accorded this spring to Theodore Francis Williams". Williams made his major league debut against the New York Yankees on April 20, going 1-for-4 against Yankee pitcher Red Ruffing. This was the only game which featured both Williams and Lou Gehrig playing against one another.Williams & Underwood, p. 61 In his first series at Fenway Park, Williams hit a double, a home run, and a triple, the first two against Cotton Pippen, who gave Williams his first strikeout as a professional while Williams had been in San Diego.Williams & Underwood, p. 62 By July, Williams was hitting just .280, but leading the league in RBIs. Johnny Orlando, now Williams’ friend, then gave Williams a quick pep talk, telling Williams that he should hit .335 with 35 home runs and he would drive in 150 runs. Williams said he would buy Orlando a Cadillac if this all came true.Montville, p. 61 Williams ended up hitting .327 with 31 home runs and 145 RBIs, leading the league in the latter category, the first rookie to lead the league in runs batted in.Williams & Underwood, p. 63 and finishing fourth in MVP voting.Montville, p. 62 Even though there was not a Rookie of the Year award yet in 1939, Babe Ruth declared Williams to be the Rookie of the Year, to which Williams later said was "good enough for me".Williams & Underwood, p. 65

Williams’ pay doubled in , going from $5,000 to $10,000.Williams & Underwood, p. 73 With the addition of a new bullpen in right field of Fenway Park, which reduced the distance from home plate from 400 feet to 380 feet, the bullpen was nicknamed "Williamsburg", because the new addition was "obviously designed for Williams".Montville, p. 63 Williams was then switched from right field to left field, as there would be less sun in his eyes, and it would give Dominic DiMaggio a chance to play. Finally, Williams was flip-flopped in the order with the great slugger Jimmie Foxx, with the idea that Williams would get more pitches to hit. Pitchers, though, were not afraid to walk him to get to the 33-year-old Foxx, and after that the 34-year-old Joe Cronin, the player-manager.Montville, p. 64 Williams also made his first of sixteen All-Star Game appearances in 1940, going 0-for-2. Although Williams hit .344, his power and runs batted in were down from the previous season, with 23 home runs and 113 RBIs. Williams also caused a controversy in mid-August when he called his salary "peanuts", along with saying he hated the city of Boston and reporters, leading reporters to lash back at him, saying that he should be traded.Montville, p. 66-67 Williams said that the "only real fun" he had in 1940 was being able to pitch once on August 24, when he pitched the last two innings in a 12 – 1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, allowing one earned run on three hits, while striking out one batter, Rudy York.Williams & Underwood, p. 82