Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ted Williams .406 Season Turns 70

Ted Williams had MLB's last .400 batting average in 1941, and here are some tidbits about it noted by the NYT:

The steadiness of Williams’s season is best, and most appropriately, borne out in numbers.

¶ Begin with these: 185 hits, 147 walks, 27 strikeouts and a .553 on-base percentage in 606 plate appearances.

¶ After missing most of April with a broken bone in his right foot, Williams hit .436 in May.

¶ From May 17 to 30, he hit .536.

¶ During his 56-game hitting streak, DiMaggio batted .408. During the same stretch of games, Williams hit .412.

¶ Williams started a 23-game hitting streak, the longest of his career, on May 15, the same day DiMaggio began his streak. During his hitting streak, Williams batted .489.

¶ Williams hit .470 against the Yankees, who won the American League pennant by 17 games behind a pitching staff that yielded the fewest runs and hits.

¶ He was hitless in only 22 of the 143 games he played.

¶ His longest hitless stretch was seven at-bats.

¶ He had just three infield hits.

¶ His slugging percentage was .735. Until Mark McGwire in 1998, only five players in either league had recorded a higher single-season mark.

¶ Sacrifice flies were counted as at-bats. Under today’s rules, Williams might have hit .411 to .419, based on accounts of games that season.

In an essay within the 1994 book “Ted Williams: A Portrait in Words and Pictures,” the Harvard paleontologist and popular science writer Stephen Jay Gould called Williams’s 1941 season “the greatest achievement in 20th-century hitting” and “a lesson to all who value the best in human possibility.”

Ted Williams’s .406 Is More Than a Number
September 17, 2011

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