Boston Red Sox

Nation STATion: Nine facts for Ted Williams' birthday

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Nation STATion: Nine facts for Ted Williams' birthday

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

From literally the day I was born, I celebrated Ted Williams August 30th birthday. And that is not hyperbole. (August 30 happens to be my birthday, too.)

Of course, it took a whole bunch of years before I realized that Ted Williams was a ballplayer. Then a whole bunch more before I found out he was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Then it took a while longer before I found out what a great American hero Ted was.

To this day, I feel the more I look, the more I discover about Ted and part of the joy of learning is to share the knowledge.

Heres Nine to Know about No. 9, Ted Williams:

1. Ted was born in 1918 in San Diego, California. Also born in 1918 were Hall of Famers Bob Feller, and Pee Wee Reese. So was Eddie Pellagrini who was born in Boston, went to Boston College, and then played for the Sox in 1946-47. Bobby Doerr, Teds teammate on the Sox from 1939 to 1951 was also born in 1918 in Southern California (Los Angeles). Thats Doerr's No. 1 you see retired and posted on the right field facade at Fenway. Doerr played for the Sox for two seasons (1937-38) before Williams joined the Sox. In 1937, when he first came up, Doerr wore No. 9, Teds number, but switched to No. 1 in 1938.

2. Other players born on August 30 include Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler (1898), Tug McGraw (1944), Marlon Byrd (1977), Cliff Lee (1978), and Adam Wainwright (1981).

3. Ted batted left and threw right. The single season home run record for a player like that is held by Roger Maris, who hit 61 in 1961 (which some of us claim is still a record). The player who hit the most career homers lefty while throwing righty is still hitting them: Jim Thome, who has 601. Ted is second in that category with 521 and Hall of Famers Eddie Matthews and Mel Ott are third and fourth respectively. Second all-time on the Red Sox is Carl Yastrzemski who hit 452.

4. Ted walked 2021 times. He is the only player in baseball history with over 2000 walks, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan with 1865, is not a close second.

5. Ted hit 521 homers and 525 doubles. Only six players are in the 500500 club, but Ted is the only player in baseball history with over 500 in each category and 2000 walks. The closest is Willie Mays with 523 doubles, 660 homers, and 1464 walks.

6. Ted Williams has baseballs highest career on-base pct. at .4817; Babe Ruth is second at .4739. In baseball history, there have only been 10 seasons in which a player has had a single season OBP higher than Teds lifetime OBP and eight of those seasons were by Ted himself including a record .553 in 1941. Arky Vaughn had a .491 in 1935 and Ty Cobb, .486 in 1915. The highest single season OBP by a currently active player was Jason Giambis .477 for the 2001 Oakland As.

7. The longest hitting streak of Williams career was 23 games in 1941. He went 43-for-88, and hit .489. The longest hitless game streak of Teds career was in his final 1960 season when he appeared in eight games without a hit. In those games, Ted was 0-for-7 with five whiffs. He did go 0-for-16 in four games in 1954 and three games in 1940.

8. Ted struck out 709 times in 9791 plate appearances. Ichiro Suzuki, is a pretty fair hitter in his own right and on June 26 he struck out for the 709th time in his career and it took him 7684 PA, over 2100 fewer than Ted. None of the other members of the 500 homer club struck out as few times as Williams. Mel Ott with 511 homers and 896 whiffs is the only other member of the group with under 1100 strikeouts. Ted never struck out more than three times in a game and he only struck out thrice three times, once in 1939 (facing Bobo Newsom), once in 1951 (against Ted Gray, Hal White, and Hank Borowy), and once in 1957 (against Jim Bunning).

9. Teds OPS (on-base plus slugging percentages) in 19 seasons was 1.116. In fact, his OPS was at least 1.019 in 18 of his 19 seasons. In 1959, his second-to-last season, he played only 103 games because of an injured shoulder. It was the only year he hit under .316 (.254), the only year his OPS was under 1.019 (.791) and the only year his slugging percentage was under .556 (.419). It was also the only year that, upon completion, he asked for a pay cut.

There are many stats that can measure the greatness of Williams on the field, but there are no numbers that can fully reflect Teds contributions to the Jimmy Fund and the kids who benefit from their work. In a Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute press release upon his death on July 5, 2002, they wrote,

According to the book, Hitter, the Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams by Ed Linn, 'Ted Williams left two monuments behind in Boston.' One of them is his baseball record, notes the author, and the other was 'the foremost cancer research center in the world.' "

To this day, the Red Sox and their players work tirelessly in support of the Jimmy Fund. This year Sox pitchers Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz signed on again as the Jimmy Fund co-captains.

There are many ways that you can celebrate Ted on his August 30 birthday, but the best way is by making a contribution to the Jimmy Fund in his honor.

Happy birthday, Ted, and thanks for making my birthday feel so special.

Drellich: In appreciation of a peculiar, throwback Red Sox offense

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Drellich: In appreciation of a peculiar, throwback Red Sox offense

BALTIMORE — On the night Major League Baseball saw its record for home runs in a season broken, the team with the fewest homers in the American League took a scoreless tie into extra innings.

In the 11th, the Red Sox won in a fashion they hadn’t in 100 years.

Just how peculiar was their 1-0 win over the Orioles, the AL leaders in homers? The lone run came when Jackie Bradley Jr. bolted home on a wild pitch from Brad Brach. So? So, the Red Sox won, but did not officially record a run batted in on the day MLB’s greatest league-wide power show to date was celebrated.

MORE:

The last time the Sox won an extra-inning game without recording an RBI was a century ago, in 1918. Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth played in that game. 

It’s a weird time for the Sox offense. A weird year, really. Because the Sox are in first place, and have been, but they don’t drive the ball. Their .408 slugging percentage was the fifth lowest in the majors entering Tuesday.

They’re also in the bottom third for strikeouts, the top five in steals and the top 10 in batting average (.260). That's the description of an effective National League offense. An old-school, move-the-line group that makes more contact than all but four teams in the majors. 

The rest of baseball is switching to golf swings to pound low-ball pitching. The Sox look like they could be on a black-and-white newsreel shuffling around the bags.

Should you have faith in that method come the playoffs? There's reason to be dubious.

But the construction should be appreciated for the sake of disparity, both in the context of recent Red Sox history and the sport’s home-run renaissance.

Alex Gordon of the Royals hit the season’s 5,964th home run Tuesday, besting the record mark set in 2000 — dead in the middle of the steroid era.

At present, the Sox lineup is particularly out of sorts because of injuries. Dustin Pedroia should be back Wednesday, but was out of the starting lineup Tuesday. Hanley Ramirez isn’t starting either. Eduardo Nunez’s rehab from a knee injury is coming along, but may not move quite as quickly as expected.

Even if all are healthy, this group remains strange. Because the Sox offense looks so different than what people expect of the Sox, the opposite of what people expect of an American League East-winning team. The opposite of what people expect of any American League team, period.

The arms are the driving force for the Sox, and must remain so if they’re to be successful in October. The sturdiness of the bullpen, tired but resolute, cannot be understated when the workload is extended in September. No team can go 15-3 in extra-inning games without stellar and timely pitching.

But the entirety of pitching coach Carl Willis’ staff has been wonderful. Drew Pomeranz didn’t have his best fastball velocity on Tuesday and was still effective in 6 1/3 innings.

The outfield play can’t be overlooked either. Bradley’s a brilliant patrolman in center field and his leaping catches to rob home runs — he took one away from Chris Davis Tuesday — have been their own attractions.

The Sox, meanwhile, just don't hit many balls far enough to be robbed.

If you’re cut from an old-school cloth, and didn’t really love those station-to-station, home-run powered offenses of yore, this Sox team is for you. There's something to be said for the experience of simply watching something different.

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Red Sox score on wild pitch in 11th for 1-0 win over Orioles

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Red Sox score on wild pitch in 11th for 1-0 win over Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Though they rank last in the American League in home runs, the Boston Red Sox have found plenty of other ways to win - especially in extra innings.

Jackie Bradley Jr. scored the game's lone run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach in the 11th inning, and Boston used six pitchers to silence the Baltimore Orioles' bats in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.

Boston has won 10 of 13 to move a season-high 23 games over .500 (87-64) and draw closer to clinching a postseason berth. The Red Sox started the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

It was the second straight tight, lengthy game between these AL East rivals. Boston won in 11 innings on Monday night and is 15-3 in extra-inning games - tying a franchise record for extra-inning wins set in 1943.

In this one, pitching and defense proved to be the winning formula. After Drew Pomeranz allowed five hits over 6 1/3 innings, five relievers held the Orioles hitless the rest of the way.

"They've been able, to a man, hand it off to the next guy and continue to build a bridge until we can scratch out a run - tonight not even with an RBI," manager John Farrell said. "We find a way to push a run across."

With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Brach (4-5) walked Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who sidestepped a bouncing pitch from Brach that enabled Bradley to score without a throw.

Joe Kelly (4-1) worked the 10th and Matt Barnes got three outs for his first save.

"They've been unbelievable," Boston's Brock Holt said of the bullpen. "That's why our record is what is in extra-inning games, because of those guys."

The game stretched into extra innings in part because Bradley made a sensational catch to rob Baltimore slugger Chris Davis of a home run in the fifth inning. Bradley quickly judged the trajectory of the ball while running to his left, then left his feet and stretched his arm over the 7-foot wall in center field.

The finish came after Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman locked up in a scoreless duel that was essentially the exact opposite of Monday night's 10-8 slugfest.

Although he didn't get his 17th win, Pomeranz lowered his ERA to 3.15 and set a career high by pitching at least six innings for the 17th time (in 30 starts).

Gausman was even sharper, giving up just three hits over eight innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

The right-hander retired the first 14 batters he faced before Rafael Devers singled off the right-field wall.

Baltimore threatened in the third inning when Manny Machado hit a two-out double, but he was thrown out by Benintendi trying to score on Jonathan Schoop's single to left field.

No one else got to third base until the sixth, when Baltimore had runners at the corners with two outs before Pomeranz struck out Mark Trumbo with a high, outside fastball.

The Orioles have lost 11 of 13 to fall out of contention.

"They're very frustrated right now," manager Buck Showalter said. "You can imagine grinding as our guys have since February and not being able to push a run like that across in some of these games when we pitch well. That's been a challenge for us. I feel for them because I know how much it means to them."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia, who left Monday's game in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his nose, did not start but was used as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and grounded into a double play. Farrell said Pedroia will likely return to the starting lineup Wednesday. . DH Hanley Ramirez (left arm soreness) was out of the starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game. Farrell said Ramirez was available to pinch hit and is likely to start Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Chris Sale (16-7, 2.86 ERA) will seek to match his career high in wins Wednesday night in the series finale. He needs 13 strikeouts to become the first AL pitcher with 300 in a season since Pedro Martinez in 1999.

Orioles: Wade Miley (8-13, 5.32 ERA) has lost his last three starts. The left-hander gave up six runs and got only one out against the Yankees on Friday night.