Monday, November 24, 2008

Pictures Of The Day--The Splendid Splinter


Arguably, The Greatest Hitter to EVER play the game. "The Splendid Splinter" in all his glory during a special studio shoot for Life Magazine. The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Great and later Manager of The Washington Senators was said to take batting practice at RFK Stadium during his field managing days in DC and STILL Reached The Fences for BP Home Runs. Ted Williams swung a terrific bat!!--even at the Age of 51 in 1969.

Phenomenal photos that clearly show how SKINNY Ted really was early in his career. Age 22 when these pictures were taken. You can bet if Williams was playing today, some trainer would have put him on an off-season weight training program. And Old Number 9 probably wouldn't have been any better. Ted Williams was all about eye contact and form.

What A Swing!!

With perfect vision, "Teddy Ballgame" always claimed he could see the seams of a pitcher's tossed pitch. Look at one of these studio shots--Williams' eyes are Clearly On The Ball.

What makes these August, 1941 Pictures even more special--less than two months later, Ted Williams would become the last Major League Player to DATE--to hit over .400. Ending the '41 Season at .406. Sadly, just one year later, TW would lose three prime years of his career due to World War II. Later he would lose parts of three more to The Korean War in the 1950's. Yet, he never complained. Williams, a Decorated Marine Fighter Pilot, always said it was His Duty To Serve.

But despite career setbacks beyond his control, Ted Williams still managed to wallop 521 Home Runs and finish with a Career Batting Average of .344. Although, I did have the honor of meeting Williams on a few occasions, never did I see him play a single Major League Game. But Ted Williams had to have been A MUST SEE--every single time he stepped to the plate to hit--IN HIS CAREER!!

Number 9 was truly "The Splendid Splinter".

Photos by Gjon Mili (Life Magazine)

PS-- Williams was also best friends with Astronaut, Senator and Fellow Fighter Pilot--John Glenn. When Glenn headed back into space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998--Senator Glenn's Buddy--Ted Williams came to The Kennedy Center Launch Site to visit with the media and witness the launch of STS-95. I have this picture of Williams and I taken just before the launch. But for the life of me, I can't find it. This was before I had a digital camera. Hopefully, The African Queen will come through for me--like she always does!!

4 comments:

Robert said...

A perfect steroid-free athlete's body. Ted Williams exemplified sportsmanship and sports.

paul said...

My dad, who vaguely knew who Ted Williams was, once picked up a tennis game with Ted in South Florida about 20 years ago. "He had really good hand-eye coordination," my dad said. Uh, yeah.

Ted's memoir and his book about hitting are must-reads for any kid who wants to be a ballplayer.

luckyute said...

Regarding your comment about seeing the seams of a pitch...

I heard what I always thought was an apocryphal story that they would mark Ted's bat black on the sweet spot, pitch a ball, and he could tell them where EXACTLY on the ball the black mark was every time without fail. In other words, the exact spot on the ball where he made contact.

I always thought that story was great and am glad to hear that it might not be just an urban legend.

Anonymous said...

"Ending the '41 Season at .406. Sadly, just one year later, TW would lose three prime years of his career due to World War II. Later he would lose parts of three more to The Korean War in the 1950's. Yet, he never complained. Williams, a Decorated Marine Fighter Pilot, always said it was His Duty To Serve."

No argument from me over Ted's abilities as a player, but he did not exactly jump at the chance to serve until public pressure made him take the plunge into military service. Bob Feller joined-up -- for Navy combat gunnery service --the day after Pearl Harbour, Williams played the enitre 1942 season before becoming a flight instructor for the Marine Corps in WW II.