As of now, the Boston Red Sox currently have the top spot in the American League standings (91-65), but not many players have a top spot in all of baseball history. On Sept. 28, 1941, Red Sox player Ted Williams became the last player to hit a .400 batting average in baseball history.
On this day, Williams cracked six hits of his eight chances at bat against the Philadelphia Athletics, which boosted his batting average to .406. This allowed him to become the first baseball player to hit .400 since Bill Terry of the original New York Giants in 1930.
Williams began and ended his career with the Boston Red Sox, beginning in 1939 and ending in 1960, and no major league player has hit .400 since he did. Contrary to being a baseball phenomenon, he served in World War II and the Korean War as a pilot in the Marine Corps, missing five total baseball seasons.
Nicknamed “The Splendid Splinter” and “The Thumper, he led the league with 37 home runs, 135 runs, a slugging average of .735 and an on-base percentage of .553, according to history.com. His on-base percentage was a record that was left unbroken for 61 years, but was broken by Barry Bonds in 2002 when he earned a percentage of .582.
Additionally, Williams achieved a total of 521 home runs throughout his baseball career, hitting his final ball out of the park his last time at bat on Sept. 28, 1960.
Williams won the American League Triple Crown in 1942, a title given when a player leads a league in three categories, usually in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI) within the same season. He had the Triple Crown honor both in 1942 and 1947, and was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1946 and 1949. Also, he was named to the All-Star team 17 times and was the fourth player in history to hit 500 home runs.
Once he retired in 1960, he left his mark on baseball with a lifetime batting average of .344, a .483 career on-base percentage and a total of 2,654 hits, according to history.com. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and the Boston Red Sox retired his number (nine) in 1984.
After managing the Washington Senators, now called the Texas Rangers, from 1969 to 1972, he died of cardiac arrest at 83-years-old.
Since Ted Williams hit a .400 batting average in 1941, other players have been close to hitting the same goal. To name a few, Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres hit a .394 in 1994, Kansas City Royal George Brett hit a .390 in 1980 and Rod Carew of the Minnesota Twins hit a .388 in 1977, as reported by ESPN.
Both a veteran and an accomplished baseball player, he made history in many ways, especially in our home city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Jessica Ricard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org