A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 8 Ted Williams (Number 2 Left Field)

An argument can be made that Ted Williams was the greatest hitter of all time. He may be the person who studied hitting the most of all time. Just as an added bonus, I read as a kid that Ted Williams was the greatest fisherman of all time. How that would be measured I have no idea. He did advertise for Sears. I remember looking at him in the Sears catalog. Ted only had a high school education, but I think he studied what he was interested learning all he could about the issue. He then used that knowledge to become a great ballplayer and as far as I know a great fishman.

Ted wrote two books on hitting as well as a hit list. One of the most famous pitchers of Ted Williams is showing him up at the plate, with a bunch of baseballs over the plate. Each one had a batting average on the ball. It was stating what your batting average would be if you hit the ball in that zone. He didn’t have computers to help him when he developed this chart. He used his experience and study of the game.

He also wrote an autobiography “My Turn at Bat”. In this book he was hard on his Mother. His Mother spent a lot of her time helping kids in the Salvation Army. She spent a lot of time away from home. Apparently, his Dad wasn’t home much either, but he took it out on his Mom in the book. However, Ted and his brother were left home by themselves a lot. Ted use to play baseball a lot while his parents were away. He said he didn’t do much homework.

My way of thinking some people shouldn’t be parents and we shouldn’t force it on them. I have a couple of friends who we were playing cards with and the lady said I won’t ever have kids as I wouldn’t want to take the time to raise it. I thought that was a smart and mature decision. Many people would call her unfeeling, but I don’t see it that way. Kids are a lot of work. You have to make sacrifices for them. If you aren’t willing to make those sacrifices, then you probably aren’t going to be a good parent. Ted Williams parents were lucky he liked to play baseball, as there was a lot worse thing he could do.

Ted served in WWII and the Korean War. He missed all of three seasons during WWII 

and a majority of two seasons during the Korean War. He started as a second Lieutenant in the Marines but played a lot of baseball in the Navy. He was trained as a pilot but was awaiting assignment when the war ended. In 1952 he was called from the inactive reserves to fight in Korea. Williams wasn’t happy about this. He still wasn’t happy when he wrote his biography, but he did say some of his fellow Marines had it tougher coming back a second time than he did. Williams flew 39 combat missions in Korea including some as John Glen’s wingman. He had a plane burst into flames when landing after being hit with shrapnel. One day in Korea Williams caught pneumonia. Doctors discovered Ted had an inner ear infection. No more flying Ted got to go home to finish the 1953 season.

In M*AS*H* — an excellent show — One time, Hawkeye made a snide remark about Ted Williams going home, that the reason he was getting to leave was because he was a ballplayer. That was obviously not the case. Ted served well over 4 years in the military. To me he was a reluctant hero.

Leave a reply