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.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake