Ted Williams, aka The Splendid Splinter, is one of the most influential figures of his generation and probably the greatest baseball hitter of all time.
The baseball star spent his 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the Boston Red Sox, predominantly left fielder.
Despite his career being cut short by military service during WWII and the Korean War, Williams is considered one of baseball’s best hitters. Also, he is the last man to hit .400 in a season.
In addition, Williams was a 19-time All-Star, two-time AL MVP, six-time AL batting champion, and two-time Triple Crown winner.
The legendary baseball player was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Boston Red Sox (1960) and the San Diego Padres (2016).
Unfortunately, the baseball legend passed away in 2002, but his name will live on in baseball history forever.
This article covers the life of Ted Williams on how he became a legend in baseball, his struggles, achievements, and many more.
But, before that, let’s take a sneak peek at his Quick Facts.
|Full Name||Theodore Samuel Williams|
|Nick Name||Teddy Ballgame, The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, and The Thumper|
|Date of Birth||August 30, 1918|
|Birth Place||San Diego, California|
|Death Date||July 5, 2002|
|Death Age||83 years old|
|Death Place||Inverness, Florida|
|Height||1.9 meters (6 feet and 2 inches)|
|Weight||93 kg (205 lbs)|
|Father’s Name||Samuel Stuart Williams|
|Mother’s Name||May Venzor|
|Spouse||3 wives; Dolores Wettach (m. 1968-1972), Lee Howard (m. 1961-1967), and Doris Soule (m. 1944-1955)|
|Kids||3 children; Barbara Joyce (Bobbi Jo), John Henry Williams, and Claudia Williams|
|Profession||Former baseball player and manager|
|Team Played||Boston Red Sox|
|Bats and Throws||Left batting and right throwing|
|Team Managed||Washington Senators / Texas Rangers (1969–1972)|
|League||Major League Baseball (MLB)|
|MLB Statistics||2,654 hits, 521 home runs, .344 batting average, 1,839 runs batted in, and .482 on-base percentage|
|Net Worth||$5 million|
|Merch||Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero|
|Last Update||July, 2022|
Ted Williams | Early Life
Teddy Williams was born on August 30, 1918, in San Diego. He was born as the eldest child in his family.
Ted was originally named Theodore Samuel Williams after the former president Theodore Roosevelt and his father, Samuel Stuart Williams.
Later, Ted changed his name on the birth certificate and removed his middle name.
Ted’s father was a soldier from New York, whereas his mother, May Venzor, was an evangelist and lifelong Salvation army from Texas.
With both parents being soldiers, they had little time for him and his younger brother, Danny Williams. Ted used to resent his parents for not giving much time to them. Sometimes, their parents even took Ted and his brother to Army camps.
Williams was raised in San Diego’s North Park 4121 Utah Street, and he graduated from Herbert Hoover High School.
Ted came from a multi-ethnic and multicultural family. For instance, his mother is Spanish-Mexican-American, whereas his father was Welsh-Irish-American.
Ted’s maternal side was even more diverse, having Spanish, Russian and American Indian roots.
Though Ted Williams came from a multicultural family, Williams’s family ancestry was hidden throughout his career.
Ted’s mother was a Hispanic, but Ted kept his Mexican roots hidden since it might ruin his career.
Ted was brought up to the majors in 1939, eight years before Jackie Robison removed the color barrier in baseball.
Those days, people had prejudices against South Americans and Negro Americans.
Ted remembered his first season where he took the train back home. When he peeked out the window, he saw a crowd of his Mexican family waiting to greet him.
Ted was afraid that his secret would be exposed. So, he snuck off the train by a different car.
Nobody knew about his Mexican ancestry until he mentioned it in his autobiography in 1970.
Ted Williams | Baseball Career
How did Williams start playing baseball?
Ted’s uncle, Saul Venzor, was a former professional baseball player. Since his parents were busy, Ted spent most of his time with his uncle, Saul Venzor, who taught him to play baseball at the age of 8.
He started playing baseball in high school and was a stellar player. In addition, he played as a pitcher.
Williams’s skills led him to tons of offers from St.Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees when he was just a high schooler.
But, his mom declined all the offers as she didn’t want him to leave home at such young age. So, instead, she signed him up in a local baseball club named San Diego Padres.
Starting with Minor leagues
After being signed up in San Diego Padres, Williams participated in minor leagues such as Pacific Coast League in 1936.
But Williams was like a diamond under the rock, and he and his skill stood out in the league.
He hit .366 with 46 home runs and 142 RBIs, winning the Triple crown from American Association, and was the second most voted valuable player.
Playing for the Major Leagues
In April 1939, Williams made his major league debut against New York Yankees. Ted became the first rookie to lead the league in RBIs and was ranked fourth in MVP voting.
Unfortunately, there was no provision for the rookie of the year in 1939, and if it had, Williams would have won that title.
In 1941, Williams scored .400 season batting in average, but his achievement was overshadowed by Joe Dimaggio, a New York Yankee star named the league’s MVP.
In 1946, Williams made his baseball comeback, but it was a disappointing comeback as he lost his first game to St.Louis Cardinals.
But, the same year, he won Most Valuable Player Award in the American League pennant.
Ted Williams | Military Career
Williams was enlisted into the military in January 1942. He was initially put into Class 1-A but later shifted to Class 3-A.
The military career of Williams had a negative impact on his baseball career as his sponsor stopped sponsoring him after he was drafted. As a result, the athlete had to take a break from his baseball career, which was peaking.
In 1943, Williams started serving in the military. Two years later, he was promoted to the second lieutenant as a Naval Aviator.
Despite being in the military, Williams never forgot his baseball and used to play baseball when possible.
On January 28, 1946, he was discharged by the Marine Corps to prepare for his baseball tournaments.
Drafted for Korean War
Despite being discharged, for the time being, he was again called to serve on duty for Korean War on January 9, 1952. He passed his test and was eligible for the war.
Before he left for the war, the Red Sox organized Ted Williams Day in Fenway Park to bid farewell. His friends and fans gave him farewell gifts, and even governors and mayors were present there.
After a warmful farewell, William went to the Korean war. He was flying as the wingman for then U.S Senator John Glenn. They were part of a 35-plane raid against North Korea.
Unfortunately, William’s aircraft was hit by fire, but he successfully defended and survived the attack. For this, he was awarded Air Medal.
Williams flew for 39 combat missions and earned two gold stars air medals. Later, he withdrew from the flight after being diagnosed with pneumonia. He had an inner ear infection and thus, became ineligible to fly the aircraft.
William was earning a name in his military career, but his primary career in baseball was jeopardized.
Hadn’t he had to serve in the military, he could have easily exceeded 600 career home runs and might even break the record of 714 set by Babe Ruth.
The military took five years out of William’s baseball career, but he never complained. Instead, he felt proud to serve his country.
His military career ended in August 1953, and he started to focus fully on his baseball career.
Ted Williams | Part-time Fisher
Ted Williams was a sideline fisherman who also had exceptional fishing skills. In addition, he was a well-known fly fisherman and deep-sea fisherman.
He would spend most of his summers fishing on the Miramichi River in Miramichi, New Brunswick, during his working days.
His fishing skills were so admired that he was inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame in 2000.
Wife and Children
Williams married Doris Soule on May 4, 1944. Doris was the daughter of William’s hunting guide, and they met each other through him.
The couple was madly in love, and after dating for some time, they married. Four years after their marriage, their first child Barbara Joyce was born.
But, Williams couldn’t be beside his wife during this critical time as he was fishing in Florida.
This event probably had led to a crack in their relationship as their ten years of marriage ended in 1954.
Seven years later, William married a model, namely Lee Howard, but this marriage could only last from 1961 to 1967.
A year later, Willimas then married Dolores Wetttach, a former Miss Vermont and popular Vogue model. The duo had their first child, a son, John Henry, born on August 27, 1968.
Five years later, they welcomed another daughter Claudia Williams on October 8, 1971. While it looked like a happy family, William divorced Dolores in 1972.
Despite several failed relationships, Williams finally found the love of his life, Louise Kaufman. Their relationship lasted for twenty years. But, unfortunately, she died in 1993.
Ted Williams | Death
In November 2000, Williams suffered from cardiomyopathy and had a pacemaker implanted. Two months later, he went through open-heart surgery.
In July 2002, he suffered from strokes and died of a heart attack at 83. He took his last breath at Citrus Memorial Hospital, Inverness, Florida.
Williams wished to be cremated and his ashes scattered in the Florida Keys, but his children chose to have him frozen in the lab.
Frozen in the Lab
After the death of Ted Williams, his dead body was taken in a private jet to be frozen at the Alcor cryonics facility.
Ted’s elder daughter, Bobby-Jo Ferell, filed a suit against her half-siblings, Claudia and John-Henry, to act against his father’s will to be cremated.
John-Henry presented the court with evidence of a family pact signed by Ted in which they had agreed to be put into biostasis after they die with the hope to be together if possible in the future.
The signature in the pact was proven to be authentic, but people believed that the signature was forged.
However, Bobby-Jo had to drop the case due to financial difficulties. Later, Ted’s son, John Henry, died of Leukemia in 2006, and his body was also frozen alongside Ted’s body as per the family pact.
Awards and Achievements
- 19×All-Star (1940–1942, 1946–1951 and 1953–1960)
- 2×AL MVP (1946 and 1949)
- 2×Triple Crown (1942 and 1947)
- San Diego Padres Hall of Fame
- Major League Baseball All-Century Team
- Major League Baseball All-Time Team
- American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949 and 1946
- Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (1957)
- Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee in 1966
- Last man to hit .400 in a single season
- Air Medal with two Gold Stars
- Presidential Medal of Freedom
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze star
- World War II Victory Medal
- Republic of Korea War Service Medal
- United Nations Service Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
The net worth of Tedd Williams is estimated to be $5 Million. He earned the net worth from his baseball career.
Williams started his career at the bottom of the income scale, earning $4,500, to finally rise to the top. Similarly, his compensation increased steadily from $12,000 to $60,000 between 1940 and 1948.
He was already second on the wage scale at this point. But, on the other hand, Ted had made a fortune of up to $90,000 by 1951. Ted had earned a total of $10,800,000 in pay by the time he retired.
Ted has made fortunes from his Baseball career, endorsements, and sponsorships.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did Ted Williams get buried?
No, Ted Williams wasn’t buried after his death. Instead, despite his wish to be buried, his children froze his body in a laboratory, hoping that future technology would bring him back to life.
Did Ted Williams believe in God?
Most people believed that Ted Williams was an atheist and didn’t believe in God.
Was Ted Williams half Hispanic?
Yes, Ted Williams was half Hispanic. Ted’s mother was Mexican-American. But, Ted hid his Mexican ancestry throughout his career.
What size bat did Ted Williams use?
Ted Williams used a light bad crafted from ash, which favored wood those days. His bat was 35 inches long and weighed around 33-34 ounces.