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Ted Williams Dramatic Final At-Bat, September 28, 1960!
“If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” –Ted Williams
“A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived'” –Ted Williams
There’s no question that September 28 was an important date in Ted Williams life. In addition to being the day in 1941 that Ted went 6-8 in a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics to finish the season at .406 and becoming the last man to hit over .400, it’s also the day in 1960 when Ted came to bat for the last time.
As one might expect, in his final plate appearance Ted hit a home run off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher. In typical Williams fashion he didn’t come out of the dugout for a bow. He trotted out to left field in the ninth and was immediately replaced by Carroll Hardy. He then left the game to a standing ovation. It was Ted’s 521st career home run. The Red Sox rallied for two more runs to beat the Orioles 5-4. Thus the curtain came down on one of the most magnificent careers in baseball history.
There’s no debate that Ted Williams was one of the game’s greatest ballplayers. He’s generally recognized by baseball historians as the greatest pure hitter ever. Ted played his entire 19-year major league career with the Red Sox (1939–1942 and 1946–1960). He was a seventeen-time All-Star, a two-time American League Most Valuable Player, a six-time American League batting champion, four-time American League home run leader, four-time American League RBI leader, and a two-time Triple Crown winner. Over his career, in which he lost three full seasons and parts of a fourth to military service, he hit .344 (seventh all-time), with 2,454 hits, 521 home runs (19th all-time), 1837 RBIs (14th all-time), and a .482 on-base percentage (first all-time). His .634 slugging average is second all-time, behind only Babe Ruth’s .689.
Ted Williams’ 1941 season is often considered to be the best offensive season ever, even though the MVP award that year went go to Joe DiMaggio. His .406 batting average is still the highest single-season average in Red Sox history, the highest batting average in the major leagues since 1924, and the last time any major league player has hit over .400 since Bill Terry in 1930. His .553 on-base percentage and slugging percentage of .735 that season are both also the highest single-season averages in Red Sox history. The .553 on-base percentage stood as a major league record for 61 years; and his .735 slugging percentage was highest in the major leagues between 1932 and 1994. Williams also led the league with 135 runs scored and 37 home runs, and was second in RBIs with 120.
Ted Williams was a first ballot selection to the Hall of Fame in 1966 and his #9 has been retired by the Red Sox. He was named to the Major League All-Century team and the Major League Baseball All-Time team.
Photo Credits: All from Google search; Colorization of Ted Williams by Don Stokes: https://www.facebook.com/Don-Stokes-Old-Time-Baseball-Colorizations-923346241033508/
Information: Excerpts edited from some of my earlier posts on Ted Williams