Boston lays claims to some of the greatest sportsmen our country has ever seen, and few have had quite the combination of skill and honor that Ted Williams possessed. Though his career and personal life were not without controversy, Williams will forever remain one of Boston’s most beloved athletes. His career is especially relevant this year, as David Ortiz and the red-hot Sox strive to make it deep into the playoffs.
One of the most loyal players in Red Sox history, Ted Williams played each of his 19 seasons for the Sox. As a batter, Williams was arguably the best ever. He is currently the Red Sox career leader in home runs, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, and is in the top 10 for many of those stats in MLB history. He is the last player to hit over .400 in a season, a feat that will likely never be accomplished again. His career batting average is also the highest of any player who played his whole career after 1920.
Despite the fact that “Teddy Ballgame” was one of the best players in the league at the time, he chose not to spend all of the war remaining safe on service baseball teams. WIlliams entered into a naval aviation program and was actually an extremely skilled pilot. He was said to have at least 20/10 vision, meaning that his eyesight was twice as good as the average person’s. This, in combination with his exceptional reflexes and coordination made him a natural. He flew over 30 combat missions in the Korean War and earned many medals of valor.
Jimmy Fund and Charitable Legacy
Though his baseball career was legendary and his service in the military commendable, “The Kid’s” most impressive and long-lasting influence came with his acts of charity. He became the celebrity face of the Jimmy Fund, created to raise money for cancer care and research, and was responsible for raising millions of dollars during his life. The Fund has raised three quarters of a billion dollars since its founding, and if it were not for Williams, it may never have survived its inaugural years.
David Ortiz’s Final Season
Few seasons of late have had such a significant connection to William’s career. David Ortiz, or Big Papi as he is affectionately called, is having arguably the greatest final season in history if he sticks to his guns and decides to retire after 2016. With almost 800 less Red Sox at-bats than Teddy, Ortiz has 15 less doubles and 54 less home runs. Including his short stint with the Twins, Ortiz has already surpassed Williams in both of those statistics with half a season to go, cementing him as one of the best Sox power hitters ever. Don’t miss your last chance to see a Boston legend this year at Fenway!