Monday, October 3, 2016

Loyalty and Longevity Pt. 3: Ted Williams

In this series, I look at players who played their entire Major League career with the Red Sox, as long as said Major League career lasted at least ten years.
There are tons of books entirely about the career and life of Ted Williams.  His hitting exploits are legendary and are well-known.  I don't really think I need to go much into his actual career, not only for the reasons above, but because I myself have covered his career in various posts.  

What I will discuss here is the fact that Williams spent his entire playing career with the Boston Red Sox.  We are talking about a span of time touching four decades (1939-1960).  He missed three full seasons from 1943 through 1945 due to service in World War II, but otherwise was a constant in the Red Sox batting lineup.  Williams played in 2,292 games, which is actually third all-time in Boston history.  Both Carl Yastrzemski and Dwight Evans have more.  He is fourth all-time in at-bats with 7,706 (Behind Yaz, Evans, and Jim Rice), though that is a function of the number of walks he took.  He is first in walks, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.  

Despite spending his entire career in Boston, Williams's career was not without some controversies and possibilities to leave Boston.  There are rumors that he may have requested to be traded, but he said so many things over the years that there is no way to be sure.  On at least one occasion, Williams was nearly traded, to the Yankees of all teams.  For Joe DiMaggio.  The story goes that Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and the Yankees owner were drinking and discussing trading Williams, whose swing was tailor-made for Yankee stadium, for DiMaggio, whose swing was tailor-made for Fenway Park.  The trade was basically made, but the next morning Yawkey asked the Yankees to sweeten the deal, since DiMaggio was coming off of an injury and was older than Williams, and asked the Yankees to include a young prospect named Yogi Berra.  The Yankees said no, and the trade was cancelled.

So it was that Williams played his entire career with Boston.


  1. Oh how baseball history might have changed had Yawkey not gotten greedy... I'd never heard that story before!

  2. Imagine what would've happened if Boston got both DiMaggio and Berra...