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TED WILLIAMS

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Timeline

Aug. 30, 1918 -- Ted Williams is born in San Diego.

June 26, 1936 - Williams signs a contract with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League.

1936 - In his first season with San Diego, Williams hits .271 with no homers and 11 RBIs.

1937 - Williams' second season in San Diego goes much better. He hits .291 with 23 homers and 98 RBIs.

Dec. 1, 1937 - The Red Sox purchase Williams' contract from San Diego. Williams had been receiving interest from the New York Giants, among other teams, and at first, Boston owner Tom Yawkey doesn't want to get in on the bidding. He eventually does and the Red Sox gain a future Hall of Famer.

1938 - Farmed out to Minneapolis of the American Association, Williams posts spectacular numbers. He wins the league's Triple Crown with a .366 average, 43 homers and 142 RBIs.

1939 - Williams has a spectacular rookie season. He hits .327 with 31 homers and leads the league in RBIs (142), walks (114) and total bases (370). He becomes the first rookie to lead the league in RBIs and finishes fourth in MVP balloting.

Aug. 14, 1940 - In the Boston newspaper the American, Williams says of Boston, "I don't like this town. I don't like the people. I want to get out of town, and I'm praying that they trade me."

May 7, 1941 - Williams hits a pair of homers at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The second is a game-winner in the 11th that Williams says was the longest homer he ever hit.

July 6, 1941 - Williams hits a game-winning three-run homer in the All-Star Game to lead the American League to a 7-5 victory.

July 17, 1941 - Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak comes to an end. During the streak, DiMaggio hits .408. Over the same period, Williams hits .412.

Sept. 28, 1941 - On the final day of the season at Philadelphia, Williams goes 6-for-8 in a doubleheader and finishes with a .406 average. No major-league player has hit .400 in a season since.

1942 - Williams wins his first AL Triple Crown by hitting .356 with 36 homers and 137 RBIs. The season isn't without controversy, though. In July, manager Joe Cronin yanks Williams out of a game for loafing.

1943-45 - Williams misses three seasons because of military service. He voluntarily enrolls in naval aviation toward the end of the 1942 season and is called to active duty in November 1942. He is initially assigned to U.S. Naval aviation Preliminary Ground school at Amherst College. He spends some time in Chapel Hill, N.C., for preflight training and Peru, Ind., for preliminary flying. He then spends time at Pensacola, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Francisco and Honolulu. He is discharged in December 1945.

May 4, 1944 - Williams marries Doris Soule of Princeton, Minn.

July 14, 1946 - In the first game of a doubleheader against Cleveland, Williams hits three homers to give Boston an 11-10 victory. In the second game, Indians manager Lou Boudreau deploys the Williams shift. The alignment would change over the years, but in its initial form Boudreau has the first baseman and right fielder on the right-field foul line. He moves the second baseman much closer to first. Boudreau, also the team's shortstop, plays to the right of second base and the third baseman plays directly behind second.

1946 - After a three-year layoff from baseball. Williams hits .342 with 38 homers and 123 RBIs. He leads the AL in runs (142) and total bases (343) and is named MVP. The Red Sox win the pennant, but in what would turn out to be his only World Series, Williams hits .200 (5-for-25) and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Boston in seven games. All five of Williams' hits are singles.

1947 - Williams wins his second Triple Crown by batting .343 with 32 homers and 114 RBIs. He loses the AL MVP award to Joe DiMaggio by a single vote.

1948 - Williams wins his fourth AL batting title with a .369 average. He also hits 44 doubles and leads the league in that category for the first time.

1949 - This is one of Williams' greatest seasons. He hits .343 and finishes just percentage points behind Detroit's George Kell for the batting title. Williams drives in a career-high 159 runs, tying for the league lead with teammate Vern Stephens. Williams leads the league with 150 walks, which would be a career high. He also equals career highs in homers (43) and walks (162). He wins his second and final AL MVP award.

May 17, 1950 - Williams drops a fly ball in the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park and receives a chorus of boos. In the second game, a ball gets past him in left. Williams doesn't run hard after it and three runs score. The boos get louder and when the inning ends, Williams jogs toward the Boston dugout but not before stopping and "flipping off" the crowd. To make sure nobody misunderstands his intentions, Williams repeats the gesture two more times.

July 14, 1950 - At the All-Star Game in Comiskey Park, Williams injures his elbow after crashing into the left-field wall while making a of a long drive by Pittsburgh's Ralph Kiner. The elbow requires surgery and Williams gets only 66 more at-bats that season.

May 15, 1951 - Williams hits his 300th career homer, off Chicago's Howie Judson at Fenway Park.

1951 - Williams hits .318 with 30 homers and 126 RBIs. He scores 109 runs, the ninth and final time he scores 100 or more runs in a season.

Feb. 7, 1952 - The Marine Corps announces Williams will be called back into active duty for two years at some time in May because of the Korean War.

April 30, 1952 - In his final game with Boston before being sent to Korea, Williams hits a two-run, game-winning homer in his final at-bat to beat Detroit. Williams is honored in pregame ceremonies and thanks the Red Sox fans for their support.

1952 - Williams begins active duty at Willow Grove, Pa.

Feb. 4, 1953 - Williams arrives in Korea as a member of the first Marine Air Wing. Williams flies 49 missions and is nearly killed twice.

July 10, 1953 - Williams is released by the Marines. A few days later, he throws out the first pitch at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. He signs a new contract with Boston and begins working out with the Red Sox in late July.

Aug. 6, 1953 - Williams pinch hits against the Browns in St. Louis and pops out. Williams pinch hits a few days later and homers. He plays in 37 games, and in 91 at-bats he hits .407 with 13 homers and a .901 slugging percentage.

March 1, 1954 - Williams breaks his collarbone in spring training and undergoes surgery. Williams misses the first month of the season and does a series of articles for the Saturday Evening Post bluntly titled "This Is My Last Year in Baseball."

May 7, 1954 - Williams makes his first start of the season in a doubleheader at Detroit. Williams collects eight hits - five singles, a double and two homers - and drives in seven runs. The Red Sox lose both games, however.

June 15, 1954 - Williams misses three weeks because of a viral infection in his right lung.

Sept. 3, 1954 - Williams hits monstrous homer off the A's Arnold Portacarrero at Fenway Park. It is the 362nd homer of his career, moving him past Joe DiMaggio.

Sept. 27, 1954 - Williams announces his retirement despite a strong season. He plays in only 117 games but hits .345 and leads the AL with 136 walks and is second in homers with 29. His .497 on-base percentage and .608 slugging percentage are tops in the league, but he doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify as the league leader in those categories.

Dec. 10, 1954 - Williams lands the eighth-largest black marlin ever caught with a rod and reel off the coast of Peru.

March, 1955 - As expected, Williams, now retired, doesn't show up for spring training although his name is on the roster and Red Sox officials refuse to explain why. When the Red Sox leave Sarasota, Fla., and head north, Williams isn't with the team.

May 9, 1955 - Doris Soule divorces Williams. Soule receives a $50,000 lump-sum payment, the $42,000 family house, full custody of their 7-year-old daughter, Barbara Joyce, $100 a month in child support and $125 a month in temporary alimony until the lump sum kicks in. With the divorce finalized, Williams is ready to again concentrate on baseball.

May 13, 1955 - Williams signs a contract with the Red Sox for $60,000 to play the remainder of the season.

May 28, 1955 - Williams starts his first game of the season against Washington and singles to center in his first at-bat.

July 23, 1955 - Williams hits a 450-foot home run onto the right-field roof at Comiskey Park.

1955 - A collapse in September ends a surprising run by the Red Sox for the AL pennant. Williams hits .356 (including .390 at Fenway) with 28 home runs and 83 RBIs.

March 13, 1956 - While at spring training, Williams is talking with some writers from San Francisco when someone asks Williams about the Army drafting Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres. Williams says the only reason Podres was drafted was because he was one of the stars of the 1955 World Series. Williams says, "The draft boards and sports writers didn't have the guts to stick up for him." Williams' comments make headlines all over the country and the following day his verbal tirade continues as he rips the draft system, saying "college kids" and "guys from big corporations" never get touched.

April 18, 1956 - On the second day of the season, Williams suffers a bruised tendon in his instep. The injury limits him to pinch-hitting duties at first and eventually causes him to miss a stretch of 33 games.

July, 1956 - The Sporting News announces its first Player of the Decade for the years 1945-55 and the winner is Stan Musial with 97 first-place votes. DiMaggio finishes second with 87 votes and Williams is third with 52.

July 17, 1956 - Williams homers off Kansas City's Tom Gorman for No. 400 and a 1-0 Red Sox victory at Fenway Park.

August 2, 1956 - Williams flings a bat during batting practice in Detroit and almost hits Red Sox beat writer Bob Holbrook in the head. Williams says, "I wasn't trying to hit you. Hell, there's three or four other of you guys hanging around. Why should I just aim at you?"

August 7, 1956 - In a game against the Yankees at Fenway Park, Williams drop an easy fly ball and is booed lustily by Red Sox fans. At the end of the inning, Williams jogs toward the dugout and launches into one of the worst tantrums of his career by spitting at fans near the dugout. Williams is fined $5,000 but tells the Boston Herald he doesn't regret his actions. "I'd spit again at those booing bastards," Williams says.

1957 - Williams comes to spring training in better shape than he has been in years and on June 1 is hitting .409.

June 13, 1957 - Williams hits three homers in a game in Cleveland - two off Early Wynn and another off Bob Feller.

September 1957 - After missing the first half of the month with a severe upper respiratory infection, Williams reaches base 16 consecutive times with six hits (four of them were homers on four consecutive at-bats), nine walks and a hit-by-pitch. From mid-September to the end of the season, Williams bats .647. He finishes at .388, ensuring his sixth batting title and the second-highest single-season average of his career.

Feb. 6, 1958 - Williams signs a $125,000 contract with the Red Sox for the 1958 season.

July 23, 1958 - In a game at Kansas City, Williams fails to run all the way to first on a groundout and the crowd loudly boos him. Williams, in turn, spits at the fans and is fined $250.

July 29, 1958 - Williams hits the 17th and final grand slam of his career in an 11-8 win over Detroit.

Sept. 21, 1958 - Upset after popping out, Williams tosses his bat high in the air and it hits a woman in the seats behind Boston's dugout. The woman is Gladys Heffernan, Joe Cronin's cleaning lady. She suffers a bruised forehead, and Williams is hit with a $50 fine.

Sept. 28, 1958 - Williams homers and doubles against the Senators to edge out teammate Pete Runnels for the batting title. Williams finishes at .328 and Runnels at .322. It is the second consecutive batting crown for the 40-year-old Williams and the seventh of his career.

March 1, 1959 - Williams shows up to spring training with neck pain. The pain worsens over the course of spring training and Williams doesn't make his season debut until May 12.

May 12, 1959 - Williams goes 0-for-5 in his first game of the season; it is a sign of things to come. Williams starts out 1-for-22 (.045) and doesn't crack the .200 mark until June 23. He finishes the year at .254 -- the only season he hits under .300.

April 18, 1960 - On opening day at Washington, Williams hits a monstrous home run to center field at Griffith Stadium. It is Williams' 493rd home run, tying him with Lou Gehrig.

June 5, 1960 - Williams returns to the lineup after being limited to pinch-hitting duties for a month because of a leg muscle pull and homers off Ralph Terry at Yankee Stadium.

June 17, 1960 - Williams hits his 500th career homer off Indians righthander Wynn Hawkins at Cleveland Stadium.

Aug. 16, 1960 - The Sporting News names Williams the Player of the Decade for the 1950s.

Sept., 28, 1960 - The final game of Ted Williams' baseball career as a player. In a pregame speech, Williams says, "I must say my stay in Boston has been the most wonderful thing in my life. If I were ever asked what I would do if I had to start my baseball career over again, I'd say I would want to play in Boston for the greatest owner in the game and the greatest fans in America."

Williams walks in the first, and flies out in the third and fifth. In the final at-bat of his career in the eighth, Williams homers on a 1-1 pitch from Baltimore's Jack Fisher into the Red Sox's bullpen. Williams receives a long and loud standing ovation from the 10,454 fans in attendance.

July 25, 1966 - Williams is inducted into the Hall of Fame. In a memorable speech, Williams says, "I hope that some day the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson can be added as a symbol of the great Negro League players who are not here only because they were not given a chance."

1969-72 - Williams manages the Washington Senators. In his first season at the helm, Williams leads the Senators to a surprising 86-76 finish and is voted manager of the year. After the '69 season, GM Bob Short makes a flurry of trades, and in 1970 the Senators dip to 70-92. They then fall to 63-96 in 1971. The team relocates to Texas for the 1972 season and is renamed the Rangers, but goes 54-100 in Williams' last season as manager.

May 28, 1984 - The Red Sox retire Williams' No. 9.

May 12, 1991 - The Red Sox have a Ted Williams Day to honor him on the 50th anniversary of his .400 season. Landsdowne Street, the road behind the left-field wall at Fenway Park, is renamed Ted Williams Way.

July 13, 1999 - The All-Star Game is held at Fenway Park. Prior to the game, Major League Baseball announces its nominees for its All-Century team. In a moment that is more memorable than the game itself, Williams is introduced last and surrounded by many of today's stars. He throws out the ceremonial first pitch to a roaring ovation.

July 5, 2002 - Williams dies at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, Fla., at age 83 after a series of strokes and congestive heart failure.


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