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August 30, 1918 - July 5, 2002
Ted WilliamsTed WilliamsTed WilliamsTed WilliamsTed Williams

Ted Williams Timeline

August 30, 1918: Theodore Samuel Williams born in San Diego, Calif.

December 7, 1937: Ted Williams officially becomes property of the Red Sox when the team acquires the contract of the 19-year-old from San Diego of the Pacific Coast League. He spent three seasons in the minors before reporting to Boston in 1939.

April 20, 1939: Of all places to begin a Major League career, Ted Williams begins his rookie year with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. He collects a double off Red Ruffing, who beats Boston, 2-0. Lou Gehrig goes hitless in the only game featuring the two great sluggers. Others who played in the game include Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr and Lefty Grove.

September 19, 1939: Ted Williams homers off Thornton Lee, one of 31 in his rookie campaign. Williams also went deep off Thornton's son, Ron Lee, 21 years later.

August 24, 1940: Ted Williams moves from left field to the pitcher’s mound as he throws the last two innings in a 12-1 Boston loss to the Detroit Tigers. Williams strikes out Tiger slugger Rudy York on three pitches. Joe Glenn, who caught Babe Ruth's last pitching appearance in 1933, is Williams's catcher.

May 25, 1941: Ted Williams raises his batting average over .400 for the first time during the season.

July 8, 1941: At the All-Star Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Ted Williams homers off Chicago Cubs hurler Claude Passeau with two out and two on in the ninth inning to give the AL a 7-5 win. Williams drives in four runs.

September 27, 1941: Ted Williams has a .401 average to begin the day and turns down the offer by Red Sox manager Joe Cronin to sit out the game. Against Philadelphia, he goes 1-for-4 to drop his average to .3995.

September 28, 1941: On the season's final day, Ted Williams finishes with a flourish. He collects four hits in five at bats in the 12-11 first-game Boston victory in Philadelphia to bring his average to .404. He goes 2-for-3 in the second game against rookie Fred Caligiuri. Williams ends the season with a .406 batting average.

November 27, 1941: Joe DiMaggio is named AL MVP. His 56-game hitting streak edges out Ted Williams and his .406 batting average for the award (291 votes for DiMaggio and 254 for Williams).

June 2, 1942: Red Sox star Ted Williams enlists as a Navy aviator. He will finish the season with his team as will many other players who enlist or await draft.

November 3, 1942: Ted Williams is the Major League Triple Crown winner, but amazingly, the writers select Yankees second baseman Joe Gordon by 21 votes as AL MVP. Gordon led the American League in three dubious categories — strikeouts (95), most double plays hit into (22), and the most errors at his position (28).

April 20, 1943: The season starts two weeks later than normal and it starts without Ted Williams, who along with Joe DiMaggio, Enos Slaughter and Johnny Mize are serving their country in World War II.

July 12, 1943: Ted Williams hits the game-winning home run in a fund-raising all-star event held in Boston. A team of Armed Forces all-stars managed by Babe Ruth and featuring Joe DiMaggio and Williams plays the Boston Braves. Ruth pinch-hits in the eighth and flies out to right. The all-stars won, 9-8.

July 9, 1946: Ted Williams, one of eight Sox players on the AL squad, takes center stage in the All-Star at Fenway Park. He connects for two homers, two singles, a walk, four runs scored while driving in four to lead the AL to a 12-0 rout of the NL. One highlight of many was Williams belting a Rip Sewell blooper pitch for a homer.

July 14, 1946: Player-manager Lou Boudreau of Cleveland hits four doubles and one HR, but Ted Williams hits three HRs and drives in eight runs, as the Boston Red Sox top the Indians 11-10. During the second game, won by Boston, the Williams Shift is created. Boudreau orders all his players, except the 3B and LF, to the right side of the diamond in an effort to stop Williams, who grounds out and walks twice while ignoring the shift.

September 13, 1946: The Boston Red Sox clinch the AL pennant, edging the Cleveland Indians 1-0 on Ted Williams's inside-the-park HR, the only one of his career.

October 15, 1946: Enos Slaughter sprints all the way from first and slides into home with the winning run in the eighth inning on Harry Walker's double, as the Cardinals edge the Boston Red Sox 4-3, giving St. Louis the World Series title, four games to three. Ted Williams went 5-for-25 in his only World Series.

November 15, 1946: Ted Williams wins the AL MVP.

May 13, 1947: Ted Williams had never gone to left field for a home run at Fenway until this day. He hits not one but two homers to left as the Red Sox rout the White Sox 19-6.

July 18, 1947: Ted Williams has his first 5-for-5 game.

November 27, 1947: In a controversial decision by sportswriters, Joe DiMaggio is named American League MVP by a single point over Ted Williams. Williams, the Triple Crown winner, receives 201 points, and is completely left off one writer's ballot. A 10th-place vote would have given Williams a tie, a ninth-place vote would have given him the award. Williams still is named The Sporting News Player of the Year.

July 4, 1948: Ted Williams faces three pitchers in the seventh inning, a first in AL history as Boston scores a then-record 14 runs and beats the Philadelphia Athletics 20-8.

November 25, 1949: Ted Williams again wins the MVP vote, this time in a landslide.

February 7, 1950: Ted Williams becomes the highest-paid player in baseball history, signing for $125,000.

May 12, 1950: Ted Williams issues an apology to the hometown fans for "insulting gestures" he made in response to booing following his two errors in a doubleheader loss (13-4 and 5-3) to Detroit. Williams' second bobble allowed the Tigers eventual winning run to score.

June 8, 1950: Ted Williams has two homers and drives in five as the Red Sox score the most lopsided victory in history, crushing the St. Louis Browns at Fenway Park 29-4.

June 29, 1950: Remarkably, Ted Williams hits the game's only home run as the Red Sox overpower the A's 22-14 in Philadelphia. The 36 runs established an AL mark for runs scored by two teams.

July 11, 1950: While making a sensational leaping catch off-the-wall of a Ralph Kiner drive, Williams fractures his left elbow in the All-Star game at Chicago. Remaining in the game, he puts the AL ahead, 3-2, with an RBI single.

July 13, 1950: Williams has seven bone fragments removed from his left elbow in a 75-minute operation. He went on to post a .350 average for the rest of the season.

September 15, 1950: In his first game back from a fractured elbow, Williams returns to the Red Sox lineup and belts a homer and three singles in a 12-9 defeat of the Browns. The Red Sox will come within two games of the first place Yankees this week, but will end up in third place, behind both New York and Detroit.

May 23, 1951: Ted Williams walks five times in a game.

September 28, 1951: Ted Williams fouled out to end the game and give Allie Reynolds his second no-hitter of the season, an 8-0 Yankee win over Boston. Williams, earlier in his final at-bat, got new life when Yogi Berra dropped a pop foul.

January 9, 1952: The Marines give notice that they will recall Ted Williams to active duty for the Korean War.

April 30, 1952: On "Ted Williams Day," before 24,767 at Fenway Park, the "Kid" plays in his final game before going to Korea as a Marine fighter pilot. In his last at-bat, Williams hits a game-winning, two-run homer against Detroit's Dizzy Trout to give the Red Sox a 5-3 win.

February 19, 1953: Ted Williams safely crash-lands his damaged Panther jet after flying a combat mission in Korea.

August 6, 1953: Ted Williams is back in a Red Sox uniform after military duty in Korea.

March 1, 1954: Ted Williams breaks his collarbone in his first Spring Training practice.

May 16, 1954: Ted Williams returns to action and goes 8-for-9 with two homers while driving in seven runs in a doubleheader against the Tigers. Williams has three hits in game one before posting a 5-for-5 outing in the nightcap.

June 5, 1954: Ted Williams catches pneumonia, sidelining him for three weeks.

May 28, 1955: After starting the season on the retired list, Ted Williams of the Red Sox becomes "un-retired." He joins the team two days later.

August 7, 1956: The Red Sox fine Ted Williams $5,000 for spitting at Boston fans, as the Red Sox edge the Yanks in 11 innings on Williams's bases-loaded walk. It is Williams's third spitting incident in three weeks. The spitting started after the record Fenway Park crowd of 36,350 started booing the star for misplaying Mickey Mantle's windblown fly in the 11th.

September 25, 1956: In response to the Ted Williams spitting incident, the Massachusetts State Legislature passes a bill to fine fans for profanity during a game. The bill is later struck down on the floor.

September 22, 1957: Ted Williams hits a grand slam for his fourth straight homer in four official at-bats over four games, as he is walked 11 times. He ends his HR streak with a single.

September 24, 1957: Senators’ hurler Hal Griggs gets Ted Williams to ground out, breaking the Teddy Ballgame’s streak of reaching first base 16 consecutive times. Williams later homers to win the game, 2-1.

November 22, 1957: Mickey Mantle edges Ted Williams 233 to 209 votes to win the AL MVP. Still, at the age of 39, Williams led the AL in hitting with a .388 average, belted 38 homers and compiled a slugging average of .731.

February 6, 1958: Ted Williams signs with the Red Sox for $135,000, making him the highest-paid player in Major League history.

July 24, 1958: Ted Williams is fined $250 for spitting at the Boston fans again.

July 29, 1958: Ted Williams hits his 17th career grand slam, tying him for second place with Babe Ruth, and behind Lou Gehrig, who had 23. Williams also added a three-run home run, as Boston beats Detroit 11-8.

June 17, 1960: Ted Williams becomes the fourth player in Major League history to hit 500 homers, connecting for a two-run blast off Wynn Hawkins at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The Red Sox win, 3-1.

September 26, 1960: Ted Williams, making his final big-league plate appearance against Baltimore's Jack Fisher, drives a 1-1 pitch an estimated 450 feet into the seats in right-center behind the Boston bullpen. It is Williams's 521st and final HR, putting him third on the all-time list. Williams's HR gives the seventh-place Red Sox a 5-4 victory. When he trots out to left field in the 9th, he is replaced immediately by Carroll Hardy. Williams retires to a standing ovation from the adoring fans.

January 20, 1966: The BBWAA voters elect Ted Williams to the Hall of Fame. Williams receives 282 of a possible 302 votes.

February 21, 1969: Ted Williams takes on a new baseball challenge, signing a five-year contract to manage the Washington Senators.

October 4, 1972: Ted Williams manages his final game as the Texas Rangers lose to the Kansas City Royals 4-0. Williams is replaced by Whitey Herzog.

May 29, 1984: Ted Williams has his number "9" formally retired by Red Sox.

May 12, 1991: The City of Boston and the Red Sox celebrate "Ted Williams Day" by renaming Lansdowne Street, behind the Green Monster, "Ted Williams Way." During the pre-game ceremony, Williams, wanting to dispel his reputation for not tipping his cap, surprises everyone by tipping his cap and paying tribute to Red Sox fans.

February 9, 1994: The Ted Williams Museum and Library opens in Hernando, Florida.

July 13, 1999: The All-Star Game at Fenway Park in Boston is delayed by 15 minutes as Williams rides out in a cart for the first-pitch ceremony. All-Stars from both squads surround the former Red Sox star in a show of admiration.

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< Back to the Tribute

Baseball mourns Williams' passing
Garciaparra will miss Williams
Red Sox owners saddened
Williams esteemed by players
Robinson recalls Williams fondly
A Tiger legend remembers Williams
Q & A with Ted Williams
Boston will mourn for awhile
A special bond between hitters
Williams got his start in San Diego
A tough man, a tough town
Greatest hitter ever? He's up there with Ruth
As good a Marine as he was a ballplayer
The science of hitting at The Ted Williams Museum
A perfect swing from an imperfect man
The greatest hitter who ever lived
Ted Williams Timeline
Multimedia archive