Monday, May 31, 2010

A Salute to the 15 Greatest U.S. Armed Forces Veteran MLB Players

Memorial Day Weekend Series- Part 15 of 16

No. 2 Ted Williams

No matter whether he was called "The Kid", "The Splendid Splinter", "Teddy Ballgame", or "The Thumper"— one thing was certain— Ted Williams was arguably the greatest pure hitter in the history of the game.

Williams enjoyed a phenomenal career that spanned 19 seasons, but it was twice put on hold to serve in the U.S. military. He first enlisted in the Navy to serve in World War II in 1942 and did not return to baseball until 1946.

Then, at the age of 34, he was recalled to active duty in the Korean War. This time he served as a pilot in the Marines and received an "Air Medal" for a heroic act in battle.

While on the baseball diamond, Williams accumulated recognitions like base hits during a batting streak. Besides earning All-Star honors 19 times, he won five Major League Player of the Year Awards, two AL MVPs, and two AL Triple Crowns.

The Boston Red Sox left fielder batted .344 (8th) with a .482 OBP (1st) and .634 SLG (2nd) over his career. Williams spanked 521 HRs (18th) and drove in 1,839 RBI (13th) to place high in the career rankings, but had he not given away five years to serve his country he undoubtedly would have placed much higher.

Perhaps his best season was 1941 when he hit a league best .406 and 37 HRs to go with an incredible .553 OBP and .735 SLG. For his efforts, though, he placed second to Joe DiMaggio in the MVP voting.


7706 1798 2654 521 1839 24 .344 .482 .634

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