August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002
While I pride myself on my sports knowledge, my husband often reminds me of all the information I apparently do not know. Yesterday’s example revolves around Ted Williams as I began to write this post.
Now, I know who Ted Williams was and do know of his baseball greatness. I know that he only played for the Boston Red Sox for his Major League Baseball career. I know that there is one red seat in the bleachers section at Fenway Park to mark where Williams hit a ball 502 feet in 1946. I know he could be the kindest of players and “…was the first Red Sox player to become involved with the [Jimmy Fund],”1 but could also be the most temperamental, with a love-hate relationship with both the media and sports fans. However, I also know that over the last decade since his death, he has unfortunately come to be known to the less enthusiastic sports fan as the man who had his body frozen, causing an embittered family feud to follow.
Naturally I thought I would ask my husband for his help providing information on Ted Williams. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “So what should I write on Ted Williams?”
Husband: “That he won the Triple Crown.”
Me: “What’s the Triple Crown?” [Side note: I do know what the Triple Crown is in horseracing.]*
Husband: “What?! Are you kidding me?! Do you know that he is the last person to hit over .400 in a single season? That he actually ended that season at .406? He could have sat out his final game that season and been at .400 but opted to play and ended up going 6-for-8 that day. He actually won the triple crown twice and with the change in baseball it is unlikely that we’ll see someone win the triple crown for batting in our lifetime.** That he is one of the greatest batters of all time? Any of that would suffice.”
So needless to say that pretty much sums up Ted Williams’ greatness. It has been ten years since he passed away and hopefully, since the family feud ended several years ago, his contributions to baseball will be the front and center memory of the legend. Ted Williams was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. You can read his induction speech here. To date, Williams still holds one of the top career batting averages at .344.
[*Side note: I never got the actual answer to “what is the Triple Crown” and had to look it up. For those who do not know, it is when a player “…leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in and batting average…”2 It is also important to know that the last player to win the Triple Crown for batting was in 1967 by Carl Yastrzemski, also a former Boston Red Sox player.
**On October 3, 2012, we did get to see someone win the Triple Crown in our lifetimes. Miguel Cabrera, with the Detroit Tigers, won the Triple Crown. He had locked up the honor with .330 batting average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs. Click here for more on the story.]