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It Was About Time! Ted Williams Finally Wins Most Valuable Player Award!
“If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me.” –Ted Williams
“A man has to have goals…and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived’” –Ted Williams
Seventy-one years ago today – after finishing second to Joe DiMaggio in 1941 and Joe Gordon in ’42 – the great Ted Williams finally wins one, as he is named the 1946 Most Valuable Player. And what a year it was! Ted hit .342, with 38 home runs, and 123 RBIs.
There’s little debate that Ted Williams was one of the greatest ballplayers in major league history and the greatest pure hitter ever. Ted played his entire 19-year major league career with the Red Sox (1939–1942, 1946–1960). 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 was a seventeen-time All-Star, a two-time American League MVP, 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. He was also the decade Triple Crown winner for the 1940’s.
The “Splendid Splinter’s” Historic Year 1941:
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.
The great 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: The Charles Conlon Baseball Collection, the Leslie Jones Boston Public Library Baseball Collection; others from public domain; Ted Williams colorizations by Don Stokes and Graig Kreindler
Information: Excerpts edited from the Ted Williams Wikipedia page.