Baseball Bats

March 2, 1954

Luck was often a fleeting friend of Ted Williams. Consider the first spring training workout for the 1954 Red Sox.

An estimated 15 minutes into his practice session, Williams chased down a low line drive. Failing to get there in time to make the catch, he hit the deck and suffered a broken collar bone.

The team doctor said WIlliams wouldn’t be available for duty for at least six weeks, perhaps a week or two longer.

While he was never a Gold Glove candidate in left field, Williams was a fully competent outfielder. Returning from a hitch in Korea, the Marine fighter pilot managed to get in just 37 games in 1953. That tour of duty began six games into the 1952 season.

The decorated Marine missed three seasons, 1943-45, serving in World War II.

So Williams looked forward to his first full season since 1951. And the Red Sox certainly needed him, after finishing fourth in the American League in 1953, 16 games behind the Yankees.

The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived played in 117 games in 1954, hitting .345 with 29 home runs and 89 runs batted in.