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.

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

New MLB labor deal: All-Star Game no longer determines home field in World Series

IRVING, Texas -- Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency.

After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides.

"It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said in a text message.

In announcing the agreement, Major League Baseball and the players' association said they will make specific terms available when drafting is complete.

"Happy it's done, and baseball is back on," Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy said.

As part of the deal, the experiment of having the All-Star Game determine which league gets home-field advantage in the World Series will end after 14 years, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.

Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will open the Series at home.

Another important change: The minimum time for a stint on the disabled list will be reduced from 15 days to 10.

The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.

Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above.

Union head Tony Clark, presiding over a negotiation for the first time, said in a statement the deal "will benefit all involved in the game and leaves the game better for those who follow."

Key changes involve the qualifying offers clubs can make to their former players after they become free agents - the figure was $17.2 million this year. If a player turns down the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team forfeits an amateur draft pick, which usually had been in the first round under the old deal.

Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.

A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.

Among other details:

-For a team $40 million or more in excess of the luxury tax threshold, its highest selection in the next amateur draft will drop 10 places.

-While management failed to obtain an international draft of amateurs residing outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, it did get a hard cap on each team's annual bonus pool for those players starting at $4.75 million for the signing period that begins next July 2.

-There is no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

-Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players, those who currently do not have at least one day of major league service.

-The regular season will expand from 183 days to 187 starting in 2018, creating four more scheduled off days. There are additional limitations on the start times of night games on getaway days.

-The minimum salary rises from $507,500 to $535,000 next year, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019, with cost-of-living increases the following two years; the minor league minimum for a player appearing on the 40-man roster for at least the second time goes up from $82,700 to $86,500 next year, $88,000 in 2018 and $89,500 in 2019, followed by cost-of-living raises.

-The drop-off in slot values in the first round of the amateur draft will be lessened.

-Oakland's revenue-sharing funds will be cut to 75 percent next year, 50 percent in 2018, 25 percent in 2019 and then phased out.

-As part of the drug agreement, there will be increased testing, players will not be credited with major league service time during suspensions, and biomarker testing for HGH will begin next year.

Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before the old contract expired, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011.

Talks took place at a hotel outside Dallas where the players' association held its annual executive board meeting.

Clark, the first former player to serve as executive director of the union, and others set up in a meeting room within earshot of a children's choir practicing Christmas carols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the last a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years. The 2002 agreement was reached after players authorized a strike and about 3 1/2 hours before the first game that would have been impacted by a walkout.

The peace in baseball is in contrast to the recent labor histories of other major sports. The NFL had a preseason lockout in 2011, the NBA lost 240 games to a lockout that same year and the NHL lost 510 games to a lockout in 2012-13.