In 1941, when he was 22-23, Ted Williams hit .406 with 37 home runs, a .551 on-base percentage, and a .735 slugging percentage. He led the majjor leagues in all those categories. And he struck out 27 times in 456 at-bats.
In 1957, when he was 38-39, Williams hit .388 with 38 home runs, a .526 on-base percentage, and a .731 slugging percentage. He led the major leagues in all those categories, except home runs. And he struck out 43 times in 420 at-bats.
He did not play at all in 1943, 1944, and 1945, when he was 24-27. He played only a little bit in 1952 and 1953, when he was 33-35. So he missed almost five full seasons in the prime of his career, when his numbers would have been at their highest.
What a hitter.
To: Charles Henrickson
The underappreciated Ted Williams batting stat: his walks. For such a virtuoso hitter, it was probably testament to his batting eye and senses that he drew as many walks as he drew (practically double or more those of his contemporary DiMaggio). And to think there were those who deemed it a sign of weakness - as if you're costing your team something by getting on base, period (this is an argument a lot of know-nothing Philadelphia writers liked making about Mike Schmidt...oh, the horror! He's walking too much! He's costing his team runs! like you rob your team of chances for runs if you get on base by a walk). Meanwhile, the Splinter comes out third on the all-time walks list (he led his league eight times in the category) and is fifteenth on the all-time runs scored list (he led his league six times). Ted Williams may have loved nothing better than ripping solid hits, but anyone who said this guy was costing his team runs should have been drummed out of the sportswriting business.
The intriguing subsidiary Ted Williams stat: Ted Williams won the Triple Crown twice and in neither of those seasons was he named the league's Most Valuable Player. Even allowing for the jobbing of 1947 (when sportswriter Mel Webb bragged about leaving Williams off his ballot entirely, for spite, with Williams needing only two points that even a tenth-place ballot spot would have provided to win the award), this is a fascinating tally, since Triple Crown winners have otherwise always been named their league's MVP (think Mickey Mantle, Al Rosen, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski) in the era of the MVP award.
posted on 07/06/2002 6:07:57 AM PDT
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