Ted Williams: American Hero



A Veteran's Story graphic for Ted Williams. Text reads: American Hero - Ted Williams

A Veteran’s Story graphic by Dominique Ramirez.

Teddy Samuel Williams was born August 30, 1918, in San Diego, California. He grew up in a family which loved baseball and his uncle taught him how to play the game when he was only eight years old. Showing great promise in high school, the young Williams was actively recruited by Major League teams such as the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. Williams decided to stay in San Diego, playing for his local minor league club, the Padres.

In 1939, Williams joined the Boston Red Sox and the rest was history. He excelled with his new club from the very beginning, placing fourth in league Most Valuable Player (MVP) voting in his rookie year. In 1941, Williams batted a .406 average, a feat which has never been repeated in professional baseball. Williams finished the season with 37 home runs, 120 runs batted in (RBI), and a slugging percentage of .735. Williams’ heroics on the field earned him several nicknames over the years, including “The Thumper,” “The Splendid Splinter,” “The Kid,” and “Teddy Ballgame.”

Beyond his heroic contributions to America’s pastime, Williams was a U.S. Veteran and enlisted in the military in 1942, after the U.S. entered World War II. He joined the Navy Reserve on May 22, 1942, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps as a Naval Aviator in 1944. Williams was part of only 10 percent of Navy fliers to earn their wings, graduating at the top of his class at the Pensacola Naval Air Base. Refusing to play on a service team, he chose combat and refused the chance at discharge.

After his service to his country, Williams returned to playing baseball at the highest level for the Red Sox, breaking numerous records and earning the highest honors in the sport. In 1946 and 1949, he was named the American League’s MVP and in June 1960, became the fourth player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs. Williams was selected to the All-Star Team a total of 17 times.

In 1952, Williams was recalled to the military to participate in the Korean War conflict. He joined the Third Marine Air Wing, 223rd Squadron. Williams participated in numerous flying missions during his second stint in the military. He was hit by enemy fire during a mission over Kyomipo, Korea but safely crash-landed uninjured, flying again the very next day. Williams flew a total of 39 missions and earned numerous military accolades and medals during his military tenure. He left the military in 1953 as a result of personal health issues.

Following his military career, Williams returned to baseball until 1960. In the final at-bat of his career, he hit his 521st home run. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, in his first year of eligibility. Ted Williams passed away on July 5, 2002.

We honor your service, Ted.


Contributors:

Graphic designer: Dominique Ramirez

Editor: Ben Szalinski

 

Author

Albinko Hasic

Albinko Hasic is an attorney, digital analyst, and history graduate student. He is originally from Connecticut.

Comments

  1. Arnold Cabral    

    My firm belief that Ted Williams was living and back then he would all he can to have Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist G4 implants Dentists in all Veterans Medical Centers.

  2. Dr. Duane Elihu Xavier    

    Ted Williams was My Childhood Hero! I was able to get his Autograph while I was working in the Brooklyn Dodgers Clubhouse! The Boston Red Sox vs Brooklyn Dodgers were playing a Exhibition Game in Miami Stadium Florida! Ted Williams had just returned from Korea Service! I have Read “My Turn at Bat” where he calls Himself Teddy Ballgame! I felt Ted Williams has earned the Title as “The Greatest Hitter Who ever Lived!” Even though he’s has Missed 2 1/2 years of his prime Baseball playing time! He is still the Last Player to have hit .406 Batting Average! I remember when his 521 Home Runs were Fourth Career All Time and since been passed a lot due to the “The Live Ball Era” period! Perhaps only Berry Bonds could stand with Ted because he was a good Hitter before the Live Ball Era! The others took a advantage of it and don’t deserve their bloated numbers! Ted Williams was also a very capable Marine Pilot who Flew as John Glenn’s Wing Man! Now there is two great Military Hero’s Flying together! RIP Ted Williams and Thank You for Your Service and giving enjoyment playing Baseball! Duane Xavier USCG

  3. Joseph Masterson    

    Ted Williams served his country twice. Unlike Mickey Mantle, who failed his draft physical because of a “bum knee.” Mantle was known as the “fastest man to first base” and won baseball’s “triple crown” ( leading the league in home runs, batting average and RBIs) after failing the physical. When Ted Williams had to land his damaged jet aircraft in Korea, he said he ran from it faster than Mickey Mantle!

    1. Charles Burke    

      Don’t really follow Baseball. But I’m not sure how bashing Micky Mantle, who I know
      nothing about. in anyway honors Ted Williams character and choices. Ted was an
      exceptional individual. Obviously Micky was as well. It is my opinion that we were
      not all meant to be warriors. He probably saved lives by opting out.

  4. Harry W. Moses    

    Go to youtube and type in…..I am your flag Harry Moses…. For my tribute to the American flag.

  5. Michael Buchanan    

    I need Dr.s permission to get my drivers license back Dr Mathewson laugh and said no way. I drove a bid Fire Engine ,Wrecked/Rollover, was in a Coma 7 Weeks Slow Starting But Steady Running Country Boy i just want a local license

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