By the close of the 1942 season, Ted Williams became a fighter pilot and flight... more »
By the close of the 1942 season, Ted Williams became a fighter pilot and flight instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps, all through World War II. He served through 1945 and
making his return to the Red Sox in the Spring of 1946, Pushing the team to win the American League pennant and taking home the MVP award. Despite the fact the Red Sox lost
the World Series (the only one Williams played in) to the St. Louis Cardinals that year, Williams'spreeminenceas an outstanding hitter grewby leaps and bounds. He became known
as the Splendid Splinter and the Thumper, for his 6'3" rail-thin frame and his power behind the bat was also ca;lled the kid.
In 1947, Williams won his second Triple Crown but lost the MVP title to DiMaggio by only one vote, a slight by the sportswriters that Williams in no way forgot.
In 1949, he was voted American League MVP for the second time. In 1950, while having a momentous season, Williams fractured his elbow during the All-Star Game at
Comiskey Park in Chicago; he smashed into the wall while catching a fly ball. He finished that game, but the damage cost him more than sixty games, despite the fact
he played well during the games he did play. He hit .318 in 1951 but then went back into the military service in 1952 and 1953, for the duration of the Korean War.
After a crash landing of his fighter plane and a bout with pneumonia, he was sent back to the states. He announced his retirement from baseball in 1954 but then changed
his mind and stayed on with the Red Sox, because he would have been ineligible for Hall of Fame election on the first ballot if he quit too soon. He suffered a series of
injuries in the mid-1950s, but in 1957, at almost forty years old, he hit .388 and became the oldest player to ever win a batting championship. He hit .453 during the second
half of the season. Williams was more popular than ever before and finished second only to Mickey Mantle in MVP balloting. The following year, Williams batted .328,
still high enough to lead the league in batting. During this part of his career he won the nickname Teddy Ballgame, although his favorite nickname for himself
was always "The Kid." « less