By guest blogger, baseball historian and author Gary Livacari
“If there was ever a man born to be a hitter it was me…A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived’” –Ted Williams
The above quote from Ted Williams may sound a bit cocky, but as Dizzy Dean once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it”, and, as we all know, there was never any doubt that Ted Williams could “do it.”
Seventy years ago this month January 1952, marks the anniversary of an important day in the life of Ted Williams. The Red Sox’s great outfielder was notified he would be activated for military service during the Korean War. The actual recall came on May 1, 1952, after he appeared in only six games. Ted had already missed three full years due to service in World War II. In the months ahead, Ted Williams would be tasked with flying 39 combat missions in his F9F Grumman Panther and would survive a crash-landing after being shot down.
On many of his missions, Ted would serve as wingman for former astronaut and senator, John Glenn, who described Ted as one of the best pilots he knew. He didn’t return to the Red Sox until late in the 1953 season and appeared in only 37 games. Altogether, Ted lost approximately 4.75 years to military service, of which at least three can be considered prime years.
Photo Credits: All from Google search
Information: Excerpts edited from Ted Williams Wikipedia page; stats from Baseball-Reference
Check out Gary’s website: http://www.baseballhistorycomesalive.com