Ted Williams

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Ted Williams bigraphy, stories - American left fielder in Major League Baseball

Ted Williams : biography

30 August 1918 – 05 July 2002

Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams (August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002) was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 22-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox (1939–1942 and 1946–1960). Williams was a two-time American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner, led the league in batting six times, and won the Triple Crown twice. A 19-time All-Star, he had a career batting average of .344 with 521 home runs, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. Williams recorded a hit 34 percent of the time; he reached base an astounding 48 percent of the time.

Williams was the last player in Major League Baseball to bat over .400 in a single season (.406 in 1941). Williams holds the highest career batting average of anyone with 500 or more home runs. His best year was 1941, when he hit .406 with 37 HR, 120 RBI, and 135 runs scored. His .553 on base percentage set a record that stood for 61 years. Nicknamed "The Kid", "The Splendid Splinter", "Teddy Ballgame", "The Thumper" and, because of his hitting prowess, "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived", Williams’ career was twice interrupted by service as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter-bomber pilot. An avid sport fisherman, he hosted a television program about fishing, and he was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame.

Family life

On May 4, 1944, Williams married Doris Soule, daughter of his hunting guide. Their daughter, Barbara Joyce ("Bobbi Jo"), was born on January 28, 1948, while Williams was fishing in Florida. Accessed January 23, 2009 They divorced in 1954. Williams married the socialite model Lee Howard on September 10, 1961, but they divorced in 1967.

Williams married Dolores Wettach, a former Miss Vermont and Vogue model, in 1968. Their son John-Henry was born August 27, 1968, followed by daughter Claudia (born October 8, 1971). They were divorced in 1972.Hitter, Ed Linn, p. 355/7

Williams lived with Louise Kaufman for twenty years until her death in 1993. In his book, Cramer called her the love of Williams’ life.Hitter, p 86 After his death, her sons filed suit to recover her furniture from Williams’ condominium as well as a half-interest in the condominium they claimed he gave her. Accessed January 23, 2009

Both John-Henry and Williams’ brother Danny died of leukemia.

Early life

Ted Williams was born in San DiegoSeidel, p. 1 as Teddy Samuel Williams, named after his father, Samuel Stuart Williams, and former President, Teddy Roosevelt,Montville, p. 19 although Williams claimed that his middle name stemmed from one of his mother’s brothers (in truth, her dead brother was Daniel Venzor) who had been killed in World War I.Williams & Underwood, p. 31 At some point Williams changed his name on his birth certificate to Theodore. His father was a soldier, sheriff, and photographer from New York,Williams & Underwood, p. 30 while his mother, May Venzor, from El Paso, Texas, was an evangelist and lifelong soldier in the Salvation Army. Williams resented his mother’s long hours working in the Salvation Army,Seidel, p. 4 and Williams and his brother didn’t like it when she took them to the Army’s street-corner revivals.Montville, p. 21

Williams’ paternal ancestors were a mix of Welsh and Irish. The Mexican side of Williams’ family was quite diverse, having Spanish (Basque), Russian, and American Indian roots.Nowlin, p. 324 Of his Mexican ancestry he said that "If I had my mother’s name, there is no doubt I would have run into problems in those days, [considering] the prejudices people had in Southern California".Williams & Underwood, p. 28

Williams lived in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood (4121 Utah Street).Montville, p. 20 At the age of eight, he was taught how to throw a baseball by his uncle, Saul Venzor. Saul was one of his mother’s four brothers, as well as a former semi-professional baseball player who had pitched against Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe Gordon in an exhibition game.Nowlin & Price, p. 31Montville, p. 22 As a child, Williams’ heroes were Pepper Martin of the St. Louis Cardinals and Bill Terry of the New York Giants.McCormack, p. 14 Williams graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego, where he played baseball as a pitcher and was the star of the team.Montville, p. 26 Though he had offers from the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees while he was still in high school,Nowlin, p. 118 his mother thought he was too young to leave home, so he signed up with the local minor league club, the San Diego Padres.