Tag Archives: Ted Williams

A Superstar Who Knew The Yankees Bobby Brown Was A Special Player

Yankees Bobby Brown Dies At 96

Chose To Be A Great Doctor, Over Being A Great Baseball Player

Bobby Brown 1946 photo: Acme

Bobby Brown 1946. photo Acme

Bobby Brown (Oct. 24, 1924- March 25, 2021) the golden boy Yankee star whose brief career in pinstripes bridged two star-studded Yankee eras, died Thursday March 25 in Fort Worth, TX.

After batting .341 in 148 games at Newark in his only minor league season, Brown was a late September 1946 call-up to the Yankees, playing in only seven games for the big club that year. In this brief stint, Brown made quite an impression with his sure fielding and batting .333 by going 8 for 24.

There’s probably few players more qualified than Red Sox superstar Ted Williams to point out a rival’s strengths .

After playing the Yankees, Ted Williams honed in on how good Brown and another Yankees call-up, Yogi Berra were. In the September 26, Boston Daily Globe Williams wrote:

“Of the new Yankee players I’ve seen the last couple of days, the one who has impressed me the most as a bright prospect, is Bobby Brown, the shortstop. And I’ve seen quite a few of their new players: pitchers Al Lyons and Karl Drews, catcher Larry Berra whom the call “The Yogi,” and he has the facial appearance to fit the name; third baseman Joe Bockman and outfielder Frank Coleman.

Berra is a little man who seems to be all muscles. He looks like he can hit a ball a long way if he connects. The others didn’t show too much, except for Brown. He looks the part of a ballplayer. I thought so when I first saw him in uniform before he even made a play or hit a ball.

The thing I liked best about Brown is that he will make the right play all the time. He showed me something in two games I haven’t seen all season. Twice he came up with a hard hit ball and threw out one of our runners trying to make third from second base. That is one of the most difficult plays for a shortstop to make and he did it twice in as many games  as though he had been doing it all his life,

Bobby has a swell pair of hands. He can run well. Up at bat he reminds me of Red Rolfe. I think he hits at a ball the way the Yankee coach and old third baseman did. He takes a sharp cut at the ball.”

Bobby Brown played alongside the 1930s-40s  era Yankee greats; Joe DiMaggio, Continue reading

Spring Training 1940 Ted Williams Takes The Grapefruit League Literally

Ted Williams Smashes Some Grapefruits

Ted Williams hitting a grapefruit March 6 1949

Ted Williams – grapefruit pulverizer photo Acme: March 2, 1940

We know the Florida spring training circuit is known as the Grapefruit Leauge. But that doesn’t mean that grapefruits are a good substitute for rawhide. So, to explain this photo – were they low on baseballs? Or is this just a silly publicity picture dreamed up by a reporter? I can’t imagine Red Sox slugger Ted Williams accommodating a press photographer with a request. Continue reading

Players Who Could Wallop A Baseball & Rarely Struck Out

Sluggers With Discriminating Eyes

Players With 25 or More Home Runs In A Season & Fewer Strikeouts Than Home Runs

Johnny Mize hit the most home runs in a season, having more homers (51) than strikeouts (42)

As baseball commentators rave about all the power hitters with their prodigious home run numbers, few broadcasters and writers will allude to the obscene strikeout totals put up by these same power hitters.

Not that most players are capable of hitting a lot of home runs and avoiding striking out, but the great players of the past could.

This list from baseball-reference.com shows the top 37 players with more home runs than strikeouts in a season.

Rank Player HR SO Year Tm G AB H RBI BB BA
1 Johnny Mize 51 42 1947 NYG 154 586 177 138 74 .302
2 Ted Kluszewski 49 35 1954 CIN 149 573 187 141 78 .326
3 Lou Gehrig 49 46 1936 NYY 155 579 205 152 130 .354
4 Lou Gehrig 49 31 1934 NYY 154 579 210 165 109 .363
5 Ted Kluszewski 47 40 1955 CIN 153 612 192 113 66 .314
6 Joe DiMaggio 46 37 1937 NYY 151 621 215 167 64 .346
7 Barry Bonds 45 41 2004 SFG 147 373 135 101 232 .362
8 Mel Ott 42 38 1929 NYG 150 545 179 151 113 .328
9 Ted Kluszewski 40 34 1953 CIN 149 570 180 108 55 .316
10 Johnny Mize 40 37 1948 NYG 152 560 162 125 94 .289
11 Joe DiMaggio 39 30 1948 NYY 153 594 190 155 67 .320
12 Stan Musial 39 34 1948 STL 155 611 230 131 79 .376
13 Ken Williams 39 31 1922 SLB 153 585 194 155 74 .332
14 Ted Williams 37 27 1941 BOS 143 456 185 120 147 .406
15 Andy Pafko 36 32 1950 CHC 146 514 156 92 69 .304
16 Willard Marshall 36 30 1947 NYG 155 587 171 107 67 .291
17 Al Simmons 36 34 1930 PHA 138 554 211 165 39 .381
18 Ted Kluszewski 35 31 1956 CIN 138 517 156 102 49 .302
19 Joe DiMaggio 32 21 1938 NYY 145 599 194 140 59 .324
20 Lefty O’Doul 32 19 1929 PHI 154 638 254 122 76 .398
21 Joe DiMaggio 31 30 1940 NYY 132 508 179 133 61 .352
22 Yogi Berra 30 29 1956 NYY 140 521 155 105 65 .298
23 Yogi Berra 30 24 1952 NYY 142 534 146 98 66 .273
24 Joe DiMaggio 30 13 1941 NYY 139 541 193 125 76 .357
25 Joe DiMaggio 30 20 1939 NYY 120 462 176 126 52 .381
26 Bill Dickey 29 22 1937 NYY 140 530 176 133 73 .332
27 Ted Williams 28 24 1955 BOS 98 320 114 83 91 .356
28 Yogi Berra 28 12 1950 NYY 151 597 192 124 55 .322
29 Ted Williams 28 21 1950 BOS 89 334 106 97 82 .317
30 Tommy Holmes 28 9 1945 BSN 154 636 224 117 70 .352
31 Bill Terry 28 23 1932 NYG 154 643 225 117 32 .350
32 Yogi Berra 27 20 1955 NYY 147 541 147 108 60 .272
33 Yogi Berra 27 20 1951 NYY 141 547 161 88 44 .294
34 Bill Dickey 27 22 1938 NYY 132 454 142 115 75 .313
35 Johnny Mize 25 24 1950 NYY 90 274 76 72 29 .277
36 Joe DiMaggio 25 24 1946 NYY 132 503 146 95 59 .290
37 Ken Williams 25 14 1925 SLB 102 411 136 105 37 .331

It’s a rarity today to find players with a great batting eye and good power like, Joey Votto. Continue reading

Red Sox Star Bobby Doerr’s Death At 99 Ends An Era

Hall-Of-Famer Bobby Doerr Who Died On Monday November 13 Was the Last Living Major Leaguer Who Played in the 1930s

Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams – 1963

Shades of 1946- Three stars of the last Red Sox American league championship team of 1946 (L-R)  Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams are working together in the Red Sox 1963 training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona to bring the Red Sox back to the position where they will seriously challenge the Yankees again for the pennant. photo: Sporting News April 1963

When Bobby Doerr passed away at the age of 99 this week, he had been the last ballplayer to have played major league baseball in the 1930s. At the age of 19 Doerr debuted in the major leagues on April 20, 1937.

Think about that for a moment. That was over 80 years ago. Doerr played against Lou Gehrig, Mickey Cochrane, Rogers Hornsby, Goose Goslin, Ossie Bluege and Mule Haas.

Edde Stanky takes the throw as Bobby Doerr steals second base in the seventh inning of the 1947 All-Star game. Doerr later scored the winning run.

Doerr was a nine time all-star who had to retire prematurely at the age of 33 due to back problems. As great of a player Doerr was, he was an even better human being.

You get that assessment from the many people in and out of baseball who knew the man.

If  you love baseball and have never read David Halberstam’s book, The Teammates (Hyperion) 2003, you should. This will give you a sense of Bobby Doerr, the man.. Continue reading

Ted Williams At The All-Star Game

Ted Williams In Action At The 1946 & 1947 All-Star Games

Ted Williams hitting a home run off of Rip Sewell's blooper pitch in the 1946 All-Star game

Ted Williams hitting a home run off of Rip Sewell’s blooper pitch in the 1946 All-Star game

One of the most famous moments in the history of baseball’s All Star game occurred when Ted Williams connected for a long home run on a Rip Sewell eephus or blooper pitch in the July 9, 1946 game held at Boston’s Fenway Park. The eighth inning homer came with the American League holding an 8-0 lead. The home run definitely put a charge into the bored crowd. The game ended up being a 12-0 American League blowout over the National League.

Rip Sewell said it was the only time anyone ever hit a home run off of his high arc, super slow blooper pitch. What many people do not know is that Williams fouled off the first eephus pitch Sewell threw. Williams challenged Sewell to throw the pitch again, which he did. Below is Sewell describing the homer and film footage of the famous clout.

In 1947 Ted Williams started again in left field for the American League All-Star team and went two for four in an A.L. 2-1 victory. Continue reading

Photographs of Presidents At Opening Day in Washington D.C.

Presidents of the United States Attend Baseball’s Opening Day

President William Howard Taft throws out the ceremonial first pitch at opening day

President William Howard Taft throws out the ceremonial first pitch at opening day  -1911.

President McKinley was invited to the Baltimore Orioles National League opening day in 1897, and though he assured the team he would try to make it to the game, he ended up not going. Had McKinley attended he might have been the first president to attend baseball’s opening day and throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

In 1910 President William Howard Taft threw a ceremonial first pitch to begin the baseball season. Taft, threw the baseball from the grandstand to pitcher Walter Johnson, but catcher Gabby Street who Taft was supposed to throw it to, took the ball from Johnson and promptly put the ball in his pocket to keep as a souvenir. Later, Street returned the baseball to Johnson who went on to pitch a one-hit, 3-0  shutout against the visiting Philadelphia Athletics.

After the game Johnson sent the ball to the White House to have it autographed by Taft. President Taft returned the ball to Johnson with this inscription:  “To Walter Johnson, with the hope that he may continue to be as formidable as in yesterday’s game. William H. Taft.”

Since then it has become a tradition for the president to attend baseball’s opening day and toss a pitch.

President Wilson Opening Day 1916President Woodrow Wilson with his wife Edith at opening day – 1916.

It was relatively easy for the president to show up at opening day with the Washington Senators having their home games at Griffith Stadium from 1911 – 1961, only five miles from the White House.

In recent years many presidents have shirked the tradition and have attended only one or two opening games during their presidential tenure. While he was President, Jimmy Carter never attended an opening day, but did throw out a ceremonial first pitch at the 1979 World Series. In his eight years as commander-in-chief Barack Obama has only attended one opening day.

Here is a gallery of president’s at opening day.

President Harding first pitch 2 photo locPresident Warren G. Harding at opening day – 1922. Continue reading

The Strikeout: The Rise and Acceptance of Baseball’s Unproductive Out

Hitters Never Used To Strikeout Like This

Chris Carter does what he does best: strikes out. photo: Houston Chronicle

Chris Carter does what he does best: strikes out. photo: Houston Chronicle

We are not even at the end of June and yesterday I read that the Astros Chris Carter had struck out 102 times so far this season. Carter is batting .198 with 13 home runs. The Astros as a team have struck out 728 times.

Those statistics are appalling and yet no one in baseball circles talks about it. Had they been playing thirty or more years ago players like Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds and the recently retired Adam Dunn most likely would not have been on a major league roster. Hitting thirty or more home runs, and batting .220 or under and striking out around one third of your plate appearances would have insured that you would not be around the big leagues very long.

But those days are over. Apparently there is no shame in striking out consistently if you can hit a few homers. Many teams apparently covet these one dimensional players and give them big contracts if they can hit some dingers.

The 1935 starting infield of the Detroit Tigers from left to right Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Hank Greenberg and Marv Owen. They combined for 173 strikeouts.

1935 starting infield of the Detroit Tigers (l to r) Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Hank Greenberg & Marv Owen. They combined for 173 of the team’s 453 strikeouts.

Contrast today’s strikeout numbers with baseball’s glory days and the statistics are startling. For instance, the 1935 Detroit Tigers hitters had 453 strikeouts in total.

Almost every starting player on the team had more walks than strikeouts.

Even the Tigers pitchers only struck out a combined 84 times in 549 plate appearances.

Tigers 1935 stats via baseball-reference.com Hank Greenberg led the team with 91 strikeouts, while hitting 36 home runs and driving in an astounding 168 runs. Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane batted .319 and struck out a total of only 15 times. Continue reading

Collision At Home Plate – Red Sox Billy Klaus Crashes Into Yogi Berra 1955

Billy Klaus Takes Down Yogi Berra, Ted Williams Picks Up 2,000th Hit – 1955

Yogi Berra Billy Klaus Red Sox Aug 11 1955 1 © Daily News Yogi Berra Billy Klaus Red Sox Aug 11 1955 2 © Daily News

Yogi Berra Billy Klaus Red Sox Aug 11 1955 3 © Daily News Yogi Berra Billy Klaus Red Sox Aug 11 1955 4 © Daily News

Yogi Berra Billy Klaus Red Sox Aug 11 1955 5 © Daily News Yogi Berra Billy Klaus Red Sox Aug 11 1955 6 © Daily News

In this series of photographs from August 11, 1955 at Yankee Stadium, Red Sox shortstop Billy Klaus smashes into Yankees catcher Yogi Berra.

The play unfolded in the fifth inning after Klaus singled and Ted Williams hit a ground-rule double advancing Klaus to third. Norm Zauchin then hit a fly ball to right and Hank Bauer made a great throw to Berra.  Klaus barreled into Berra knocking the ball loose.

What I like about the photograph besides the action, is that umpire Jim Honochick looks on rather passively not moving very far from where he calls balls and strikes, to make what should have been a very close call at the plate!

The Red Sox would lose this game 5-3. After the game with an ice bag pressed to his face Berra was sore and said, “I don’t know what he hit me with, but I hurt all over.”

One very important event happened in the game, Ted Williams became the 96th player in major league history to record 2,000 hits. He picked it up on a bloop single in the first inning that fell in left center between Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard. When Williams reached first he jokingly commented to Yankee first basemen Moose Skowron, “What a smash.”

With the hit, Williams became one of only four active players to be in the 2,000 hit club, the others being Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter and Mickey Vernon.