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1954 Boston Red Sox season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1954 Boston Red Sox
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s)Tom Yawkey
General manager(s)Joe Cronin
Manager(s)Lou Boudreau
Local televisionWBZ-TV, Ch. 4 and WNAC-TV, Ch. 7
Local radioWHDH-AM 850
(Curt Gowdy, Bob Murphy,[1] Tom Hussey)
< Previous season     Next season >

The 1954 Boston Red Sox season was the 54th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 69 wins and 85 losses.

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  • ✪ Ted Williams - The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived - Baseball, The Boston Red Sox and The Kid
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Welcome to Books of Our Time brought to you by the Massachusetts School of Law and seen nationwide today we shall discuss a biography of one of the greatest hitters who ever lived Theodore Samuel Williams Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox despite having missed nearly five years of his prime hitting years because he was a marine fighter pilot in World War II and Korea Williams lifetime batting average was 344 and his total number of home runs was 521 the books author Ben Bradlee Jr. is a reporter and editor with the Boston Globe and is with me today to discuss his book and I am Lawrence R Velvel the Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law well thank you very much for being with us and this being Boston I'm sure this will be well received uh tell me what caused you uh to decide to write a biography of Ted Williams well Williams was a childhood hero of mine and I remember as a kid uh my bedroom wall was uh plastered with pictures of uh Ted Williams cut out from Sports Illustrated or Sport Magazine I grew up in Cambridge Mass and uh I'm old enough that I saw him play the last two or three years of his career so I would go down to Fenway Parl as often as I could and uh it was special watching that guy hit uh when he came to bat uh everyone was on the edge of their seat no one would have dreamed of leaving their seats to go get a hot dog or anything like that there was an electricity in the air and uh I remember a fellow uh a reporter of the day told me that he once interviewed a blind man and uh asked him why he came to the park when he could be home watching the listening to the game on the radio he said I like the sounds of the park when Ted Williams comes to bat and I think that's a nice little vignette there was a murmer or a buzz or something like that yes yeah I think that illustrates the impact that he had and often uh when he had his last at bat or it appeared so people would leave the park you know he you never knew what Williams was gonna do he had this volatile almost volcanic personality he might pop off or do something dramatic people were aware of that and uh just on the edge of their seats you say he was a volcanic personality I take it that he got away with that because he was Ted Williams I I can't imagine almost anybody else except maybe DiMaggio had he been that way which he was not uh getting away with something like that well he didn't always get away with it uh you know in the mid fifties there were several incidents where he spat at the crowd spat at the press box uh I mean you know gave the finger to the crowd you know he he was very thin skinned Ted uh huh uh he couldn't accept criticism uh he reasoned that he was the best at what he did he was trying hard that criticism of him particularly from the writers was ill informed uh so he would pop off you know yeah that behavior if you contrast it especially uh to the players of today is so unusual you know the players today are are trained just to uh accept any boos or abuse they get from the crowd as a you know that's the fans price of admission and they're entitled to uh to boo if they want to but uh Ted didn't uh didn't buy it that way and he would react and then fans would see that and uh uh be encouraged to get under his skin even more because they could see they were getting a reaction it was like you know poking a bear from behind the safety of the bars at the zoo you know yeah yeah I think it was .. who said he's got everything except the ability to take advice yeah I think that was in regard to uh refusing to go to left field when the shift was implemented Lou Boudreau in '46 when he was with the Indians swung all the players over to the right side of the baseball field in what was then a very innovative defensive scheme and uh Ted said what the Hell is this to the umpire is this legal and uh the umpire said yes Ted it is get back in the box and hit and uh but it was a very effective maneuver and uh Ted was stubborn and he reasoned that he was a power hitter and the fans were coming to uh watch him hit not to bunt or to hit a little dinky single down the left field line so he was pretty stubborn in that way and uh he continued basically to try and pull the ball but he reasoned he he he concluded that over his life time uh that shift cost him about fifteen points off his lifetime batting average so if he ended at .354 yeah he thought he would've been up around .359 didn't he ultimately start hitting to left to overcome the shift or did he never do so well he tried a little bit but uh he wasn't very successful at it and uh that's when some of the other players like Ty Cobb and uh some others were critical of him uh for not doing it more effectively but basically he decided ti just keep pounding the ball to right field to pull the ball do you think that uh as Yogi Berra said Williams was not only one of the greatest hitters ever which he wanted to be but the greatest hitter ever which I don't know that he ever entertained that thought maybe he did oh he did entertain that thought did he that that was his lifetime uh ambition you know he famously said that when he retired he wanted people when they saw him uh encountered him on the street to say there goes the greatest hitter who ever lived that was his ambition and I would argue that he achieved that uh he was uh he was a fantastic hitter who still holds the all time record for on base percentage yeah .482 yeah meaning he reached base almost one out of evry two times uh that includes walks it includes walks yes it doesn't matter because well these days there's more and more of a an emphasis on that stat uh he was criticized by some for walking too much but uh today they uh there's much more of an emphasis on uh a walk is as good as a hit getting on base you know there's a premium on that yeah so he was ahead of his time I think yeah didn't he feel that if he started swinging at a ball an inch off the plate pretty soon the pitchers would pitch it two inches off the plate exactly exactly a slippery slope slippery slope yeah and uh there was there was a lively debate about that back in the day uh Joe DiMaggio for instance was critical of Williams for for adopting that philosophy on the theory that you know he he was the best hitter on the team and if there's a runner in scoring position and you take a walk you're hurting your team by not having your best hitter try and knock the guy in but Williams argued uh he made that slippery slope argument that if you chase a ball one inch as you said soon the pitcher will throw it two inches off and then the advantage swings to him they had a lot of good hitters on that team didn't they I mean I seem to remember Dropo and uh Bobby Doerr Dom DiMaggio yeah Vern Junior Stephens Junior Stephens these are the teams of the late forties and uh yeah Bernie Tibbetts was a pretty good hitter yeah yeah those are great teams and the amazing thing is that they didn't win more pennants and more World Series somehow or other the Yankees gosh darn their eyes always seemed to beat them oh to finish ahead of them well they had better pitching and and really better line ups the Yankees had a far better supporting cast than than the Red Sox did for Ted yeah yeah isn't it rather remarkable that Williams was it at ages thirty nine and forty he won the hitting championship uh two years in a row at that age has anybody else ever come close to winning it at that age I don't believe so '57 or '8 he hit uh '57 he hit .388 yeah which was uh an astonishing achievement for a guy thirty nine years old well it's an astonishing achievement for anybody at least today it would be yeah well and he he thought that was his greatest achievement actually better than the year he hit .406 he was just three of four what do you call leg hits meaning those that you have to beat out he was slow you know he couldn't really run right uh but if he'd had uh five or six more leg hits even he would've hit four hundred at that age which would've been really incredible didn't he once say he was watching Mickey Mantle if I could run like that I'd hit four hundred every year yes yeah he envied uh Mantle his speed he did not think he'd be the last .400 hitter but he is somebody hit .388 George George George Brett what accounts for the fact in your opinion that nobody's hit .400 since Williams first you have to look at it positively for Williams that he was this singular talent uh but also the game has changed since his time a uh much more of an emphasis on relief pitching than there was in Ted's day in his day you know it was common much more common for a starting pitcher to go nine innings and finish the game favorite pitcher of all times would be of course uh Pedro Martinez however favorite closer would be Mariano Rivera the one I like the most would be Pedro Martinez I guess uh Pedro he he had such a tremendous change up that I swear when I used to watch him pitch he could tell he could tell the hitter what's coming and the hitter would still miss it Alison was a legal assistant with much bigger dreams Eric turned his business background into so much more they found their futures at the Massachusetts School of Law and so can you immerse yourself in a fun supportive campus environment learn professional skills from instructors with real world experience take the first step in changing your life at the most affordable law school in New England the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover your future starts here growing up my favorite hitter to watch was uh Mo Vaughn I loved watching Mo Vaughn uh either on TV or at the ball park and I just remember the way he kind of stood in the aftermath of a big mammoth home run it looked like he had just you know pulled a uh a plug out of the ocean just stayed up like that and uh the balls were towering home runs and uh prior to David Ortiz I I'd never seen anybody launch home runs out of Fenway with such regularity so uh I loved watching Mo Vaughn hit as a kid I think the greatest hitter of all time was Ted Williams he had his career cut short by the military at a time when he was in his prime and he still dominated the game both before and after very few people in the history of baseball could hit it like he could maybe Ruth Ruth could I think I guess out of overall you'd have to say Ruth was you know a smidgen better hitter but uh that's that's so what ha ha ha you know Williams was pretty great maybe for power but but for power and average yeah I think Williams is uh tops why did you start the book with a description of the uh procedure at Alcor after he passed away and they severed his head Williams when he died his son uh John Henry decided to have Ted's remains uh frozen in a procedure that is known as Cryonics this is uh a belief really by uh a relatively small number of people in the country maybe several thousand who hope that medicine and medical science will have advanced to the point that someday people will be able to cure you of whatever it is you've died from and then a big leap bring you back to life uh a lot of holes in this theory and they haven't worked out how it will happen but uh the son was a believer in this and uh this caused enormous controversy uh after Ted died uh a lot of people thought this was cruel and barbaric and that Ted himself didn't want it and uh I wanted one of the things that I set out to do was to try and investigate uh whether Williams really did want this and uh so I was able to find out a lot about what happened on that day I opened the book there because it was really people's last memory of what happened to Ted and I got a lot of new material which disclosed in the book exactly what did happen and so I decided that that would be uh an interesting and a different way to start the book rather than in the conventional uh biographical way that he was born on August, 30 1918 in San Diedo I get to that what were some of the new things that you discovered my conclusion was that Ted while he may have agreed to John Henry's request to uh have his remains cryonically preserved that if he did he wasn't of sound mind at the time and he told others uh after he supposedly agreed to this in November of 2000 that no he wanted to have his remains uh cremated the way his will specified uh so that was a a key finding but I also talked to people who were in the operating room when uh his body arrived and uh got the first detail of what happened inside that operating room how they uh went about preparing his body and some rather gruesome stuff uh cutting off his head and and it was shocking really and I thought people should know that yeah it is shocking I got the sense that his that he had a drive for perfection which is really the key to everything that he did uh huh and uh where did he get that and how how did he where did he get it and how did he use it in his baseball career he he was a perfectionist it's true he was blessed with great natural talent like extraordinary eye sight you know a beautiful swing and uh but he he resented it when people tried to attribute his success to simply those natural gifts he said no one out worked me no one swung a bat more often than me no one lived to hit the way uh I did and uh he wanted to be the best at what he did people who uh are at the top of their field whatever that field may be do have uh a drive for perfection I don't think the the drive itself is is that unique but it requires a lot of discipline and he had that I think that came at least the uh discipline part uh came from his mother uh who was uh a very interesting figure which who I go into a lot in the book and perhaps we we can discuss that uh she was a a Salvation Army worker in a in San Diego during the depression and she was a colorful figure known as uh Salvation May and she was devoted to her work uh the way Ted was devoted to baseball I think he did derive some of his drive and discipline from the way he saw his mother uh behave and she was so zealous about what she did that she would be out until all hours of the night on the streets of San Diego saving souls and not be home to take care of uh young Teddy ballgame and his brother younger brother Danny until ten eleven o'clock at night father was an alcoholic and largely absent so not as big of a factor in uh Ted's life as the mother but Ted and his brother Danny grew up some of the first latchkey kids they'd be on the porch the front porch of the house ten eleven o'clock at night waiting for mom to come home and cook 'em a meal luckily for Williams there was a playground down the down the street with lights so he could play ball at night so baseball became his salvation that was university field or university yes park in San Diego yes yes also known as North park so he practiced and practiced and practiced to build on his uh natural talent and uh so I think he did become the greatest hitter who ever lived yeah you think he was better than Ruth I think combining power and average I think Ruth would would have him on power certainly just raw power but uh Ted uh hit better for average I have a daughter living in San Diego and the only time in my life I've ever gone by a place just to see was so and so you know grew or did this or did that was there you know I said I gotta go by there that's where Ted Williams learned to hit yeah played ball as a kid I've gotta go by there yeah well that's interesting because I I uh I was out I went back out there on a visit recently with my son and he wanted to go there and I showed it to him to in those days I guess there was a lot more prejudice in the country so he hid his background which was half Mexican American wasn't it right well this this was one of the more interesting parts of the uh of the Williams story to me uh his mother was Mexican born there raised there came to uh San Diego uh you know when she was a young woman or to middle age and uh so that made Ted Mexican American his father was American Anglo but this was a fact that he chose to conceal throughout his life he was worried that prejudice of the day could hurt his career and there was more evidence that uh pre in major league baseball that there was uh more prejudice against the Black players of the day uh but Williams wasn't going to take any chances so he didn't talk about that until uh late in life of course he looked Anglo he looked Anglo he had his father's genes and so no one really knew uh but I was interested in tracking down his relatives on the Mexican side of the family and one of the first things I did was reached a first cousin who lived up in the Santa Barbara area and uh she said come on up and I'll convene a family meeting for you and uh this is the Venzors the Venzors and so I walk in that room and I was struck by how dark uh they were darkly complected compared to to Ted who who really did have his father's uh genes and while they were very proud this group of their famous cousin Ted they also resented him a bit because he shunned them basically his entire life and they told a fascinating story to illustrate that uh of what happened in 1939 at the end of his rookie year when he had taken the American league by storm and uh returned to San Diego uh the conquering hero and about a hundred of the Mexican side of the family turned out to greet him at the train station Ted gets off the train takes one look at this gaggle of uh Mexicans high tails it in the other direction wanted to have nothing to do with 'em yeah and uh that sticks in their craw to this day I guess he had some problems with his uh own family his daughter well he had two daughters your'er referring to Bobbi Joe the the oldest daughter yes yeah he had two Bobbi Joe and Claudia right yeah Bobbi Joe is the daughter by his first marriage he was married three times so he hit .333 he had no children by the second and then two uh kids a son John Henry and Claudia by his third marriage and uh he was not a good parent Ted by his own admission uh towards the end of his life reflecting uh he said as a as uh as a husband and a father I struck out quote unquote and uh he was largely preoccupied uh with himself self absorbed he tended to his career uh almost exclusively at the expense of his personal life his record as a husband and a father bore that out uh I don't mean this cynically or sarcastically but it's a statement of fact I think self absorption is something that you can get away with when you're the best at what you do if you're not too good at what you do self absorption is not regarded well by the world around you I think I'd agree with that you can get away with a lot if you're the greatest hitter who ever lived well that's right that's right yeah you point out that he was an intellectually curious guy and one of the things he was curious about was the art of hitting hitting a baseball and that's probably an unusual thing a lot of uh baseball players uh take a simplistic view of hitting you know see the ball hit it hit the ball that's it Ted was interested in in uh in the physics of baseball you know he went to uh went over to MIT and paid a visit to uh a physicist over there to talk about you know the aerodynamics and what made a baseball curve and uh Bernoull's Principle he was way ahead of his time in using a lighter bat Louisville Slugger people uh told me that when he first proposed using a lighter bat they said Ted you're crazy you're a slugger you know use a heavy bat and he said no a lighter bat will increase my bats speed and therefor increase the torque and uh that will produce the power and give me a quicker bat so he was always interested in what made a better hitter and he always studied the pitchers very carefully and uh kept a close uh record of what you know who threw what to him when and what situation and he'd always be quizzing his teammates about what a pitcher threw to them in a certain situation and he would always get very upset and frustrated with his teammates if they came back and couldn't remember you know the average player often like Dominic DiMaggio yes yeah don't be a dummy Dom yeah exactly he was a very angry guy in a lot of ways yes he was kind of played hob with his relationships with people yes the book deals a lot with uh his anger I think the anger was rooted in resentment of his mother for not being there for him as a child you know there's no hard proof of that of course but that's sort of my armchair psychologist take the anger became a double edged sword for him he used it to his advantage on the baseball fild he always said he hit better mad so he would you know manufacture some kind of feud with the sports writers to get an edge going and to get himself revved up and then why why do you think he uh hit better when he was angry 'cause he was up he was pumped up pumped up and uh you know it it helped him as a motivator ok he'd get himself worked up and and uh you know create a uh narrative that for example that he was getting bad press he actually got a good press he had a few columnists of the day who were antagonists and he'd convince himself that uh you know the world was out to get him and uh and so he'd go off on a tear and hit .500 for a month but in his personal life his anger would would bubble up at uh inappropriate times and places and cost him great difficulty in his personal life as I understand it he turned down an honorary degree from Harvard which is passingly vanishingly rare I think would be the uh hardly ever been done hardly yeah except Katherine Hepburn and a few others I think I love that story it it it shows how insecure he was uh intellectually he was very curious he had a curious mind a good mind he he was embarrassed at his lack of formal education nothing more than a high school degree and uh always insisted therefore that his uh children go to college and uh was disappointed in his oldest daughter Bobbi Joe who never did I love the story that in 1991 Harvard uh approached him on the fiftieth anniversary of his greatest achievement hitting .406 in '41 and wanted to give him an honorary degree and I was talking with the dean uh who was dealing with Williams then and uh it was just very very interesting he said that that Ted said he would feel out of place among the intelligentsia in Harvard yard with his high school education and uh so he turned it down remarkable uh self abdication would that be a phrase that you could use well in any event apparently he worked very hard to build up his arms and wrists and hands and uh he uesed to do a lot of push ups yeah finger tip push ups finger tip push ups he would lift a uh he would get down on the floor and take a heavy chair like the ones we're sitting in and lift it up by one leg up and down he was skinny very skinny as a kid and was always trying to bulk up he was you know almost six four but but uh a hundred and sixty pounds wringing wet so he was always trying to bulk up and do do these uh exercises in those days there was no weightlifting that's right yes right right weightlifting must have come in I think in the I semm to remember it beginning in the late fiftees or something when I was in college and that it became a big deal after that I can remember going down to the gym uh in Waterman Gymnasium in Ann Arbor and there were guys who were there everyday pumping iron like his mother he had a monomaniacal focus right I mean when he when he zeroed in on something he focused on it I don't want to say to the exclusion of everything else but he focused on it very hard he was single minded uh very determined in in his uh desire to to become the greatest hitter who ever lived he would take balls home with him from from the Padres or something like that and they uh the manager didn't believe him when he said he would be hitting and went out to see and he was out there hitting balls to the kids yeah yeah he this was when he signed his first pro contract with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League and he was uh eighteen nineteen maybe uh right just right out of high school he wasn't starting all the games initially so he wanted extra batting practice so he said to the manager uh I need some extra baseballs and go back to the playground where I grew up and he'd hire some h kids to go shag balls for him you know for a nickel or whatever back whatever they paid back then yeah the manager doubted what he was doing with all of these baseballs one day just uh went over to the park to see if he in fact was out there and there he was you know slugging those balls apparently Williams was in a way in a major way one of these persons who combine great physical talent with a real head and uh apparently he had a tremendous memory you talk about uh as to what pitchers had thrown him yeah previously yeah and uh you know that had to of helped because he figured out what did he say once I don't guess uh I know what they're gonna throw or something on that order yeah but it was based on his uh recollection of what the pitcher had thrown to him in the past in in similar situations and uh uh pitchers who he would encounter uh in retirement you know they'd talk over old times and the pitchers would be you know they'd get to telling war stories about uh how you know Ted hit a home run of such and such a guy nineteen forty eight and uh and the pitcher would say yeah I remember that day and Ted would say I remember it better than you it was a fastball low and away you know he could just pick it out like that I guess that when he was young coming up in the minor leagues he was considered quite the screwball he was yeah screwball is the term that they used in those days uh today I'm not sure that's when I used it I'm not sure what it would be today flake or something but uh yeah yeah he he uh he was very different and uh but you know part of it was that he'd he had never been anywhere he'd never been out of San Diego and uh Bobby Doerr for instance was was uh he was one of my first interviews he's still alive by the way ninety five or something living out in uh Oregon he was great recalling Ted's first uh road trip for the San Diego Padres when you know they would take the train up north and go all the way up into uh uh Oregon and uh uh you know he'd never been on a train before he'd never been in a restaurant much less a club car a dining car he didn't know how to order a meal you know he'd he'd he'd come in and uh he'd see his teammates already eating you know he'd just go wild at all this food around and and he'd you know swipe a roll off some guys plate you now he didn't know how to handle himself and uh Doerr would take him under his wing and say alright you've got about five dollars a day in meal money and you've gotta tip so and so uh the waitresses this much and you know he schooled Ted on the social graces you don't hear about things like that anymore I mean do they not exist or is it just that with television and so much newspapering and so on that you know everybody there's nobody who's that basically unaware of things anymore that I'm aware of yeah he was almost a feral child you know he he didn't have he was kind of wild and uh uh you know not not well off at all it was a very poor family yeah yeah and so getting exposed to all these things yeah for the first time yeah talk a little bit about his war against the writers why and who and I have a long chapter in the book uh called the writers and it it was the writers back then it was newspapers you know there was no television radio was around but newspapers dominated the scene Ted didn't like reporters you know he thought they were uh prying into his personal life he was very naive about the press he didn't understand or appreciate that uh fans wanted to know something about his personal life so even the most innocuous feature story that somebody might write uh about his childhood and growing up in San Diego you know the reporter would call up his mother for a you know just the most uh innocuous quote about what young Ted was like and Ted would uh call the writer on the carpet and say you know you have no business uh calling my mother like that and he says you can write about what I do on the field but don't get into my personal life you know I mean imagine in the tabloid press of today somebody taking that that position he was just very naive he didn't understand how the press uh worked and generally he got a very positive press but there were a few columnists of the day notably uh one Dave Egan who was uh uh the star sports columnist for the old uh Boston Record uh who made it his mission to give Ted the jab all the time he would refer to him as T Williams Esquire and uh Egan's mission was to basically take down whoever was up in uh in town Williams owned the city then just owned it uh and baseball was by far the dominant sport of uh that era you know this was pre NFL pre NBA uh it was baseball that really was America's pastime I think that when I started reading the newspapers in 1947 still pretty much all baseball as I remember it yep yep uh I think maybe not until the late fifties when you began to get a lot of football and the sixties basketball and you know whatever there was one year I think it was 1941 that he uh he going into the last day his average was like .39999 which I think it comes out to uh ninety hundred and ninety nine ten thousands or something like that I figured it out in other words .400 by any by any reasonable measure but he wouldn't take that he decided to go into the last day and he hit yeah probably the most dramatic day of his career and and his signature achievement he's the last player in more than seventy years to hit .400 and uh he went into the last day of the season in 1941 uh hitting three ninety nine point five I think it was and his average would have been rounded up but he knew that would've come with an asterisk and uh and while his manager Joe Cronin said uh offered to let him sit it out the last game in fact urged him to Ted said no way uh if I'm gonna hit .400 it's gonna be legit and I'm gonna play in the last day of the of the year and so it was a double header and uh what did he do he played not just one game but both games and went six for eight on the day so that was a courageous uh decision and uh really his signature moment did he ever talk about that oh he talked about it a lot yeah and and and why did he say he did it he didn't want to be a chase champion so to speak exactly exactly yeah he knew that if he sat it out it would come with an asterisk say it would've gone on the books as a four hundred but they would've had to have said this is three ninety nine point five rounded up and uh he wanted to be legit I like Bob Feller's comments you know the pitcher never lived who could throw the ball by him he must've had incredible reflexes because those balls are going a hundred I think the fastest now is about a hundred and one yeah something like that well Williams always said that that uh hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports and he would get some argument from that like you know he and Sam Snead the golfer would would uh get into arguments about that and Snead would try to argue well hitting a golf ball is harder and Williams would say are you kidding me the ball is just stationary and you just go up and whack it and uh Snead said yeah alright Ted let's see you do it and Williams' drive would slice off into the woods and and uh I think people uh generally I think there's a lot of support for Williams' case that uh you know if you stand n the batters box against somebody throwing cheese at ninety eight point miles ninety eight miles an hour uh the idea of getting around even you know turning on that fastball and uh uh having a bat speed quick enough that you can it's very difficult to do yeah plus the fact that you've always gotta watch out that it's not coming straight at your head yeah it happens yeah yeah yeah a golf ball's hard to hit but it doesn't move that was Ted's argument my favorite player is Pedro Martinez because he was the most exciting pitcher I've ever seen and you never expected him to lose my favorite pitcher is probably Curt Schilling just because he won us our first championship here and he did it with an injury that by all means he never should have been pitching on so I'll always have a soft spot for him best pitcher that I ever saw pitch however was Sandy Koufax uh didn't get to see him that often but Sandy Koufax I mean I think he had like six no hitters in six years I mean who who does that I mean the guy the guy was amazing over twenty five years ago we said legal education was broken change is uncomfortable but it's often needed so we rolled up our sleeves and we fixed it schools are just too expensive ours isn't most schools don't teach needed professional skills ours does because our professors continue to have real world experience to often you settle for a career that's less than what you hoped for you shouldn't come see the future the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover your future starts here the best batter of all time would have to be Babe Ruth favorite all time player would be Derek Jeter from the New York Yankees all the nineties Red Sox references but favorite pitcher to watch as a kid also was Pedro Martinez uh just the guy was not afraid to throw up and in he wasn't afraid to let bigger hitters know this is his plate and uh I think he brought an intensity uh to the mound that was really only rivaled by his disgusting change up stuck in a cubicle Jess was going nowhere Carol made the switch from a tech company Everyl was an undergrad who knew he wanted more he deserved more find your future at the Massachusetts School of Law immerse yourself in a fun supportive campus environment learn professional skills from instructors with real world experience take the first step in changing your life at the most affordable law school in New England the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover your future starts here best batter I ever saw was Ted Williams uh Ted Williams could hit nobody hit like nobody could hit like the Splendid Splinter he had the most beautiful swing that I've ever sen his book is till a classic I mean I think if you want to learn to be a great hitter you have to read his book and he could hit with power and he could hit for average of course he was the last one to ever hit over .400 and I don't think that'll be broken I I can't see that ever being broken again and one thing about Ted is it's important to know he didn't want to be just good he wanted to look good and uh you know he had that he probably had the most beautiful swing ever in in baseball a slight upper cut and uh he wanted to get the ball up in the air go for power where did he learn to swing like that did somebody teach him did he figure it out it it was you know just working the playground that was the natural swing that he developed and uh you know he would go to school each day carrying a bat he would swing the bat on the way to school he'd pass these store fronts and admire his uh reflection in the looking glass stop and he'd stop and take a swing and the guy selling the bakery or somebody would say what the Hell is this kid doing uh you know this this vain young boy what what about Black and Mexican players I mean he he was pretty decent about that at a time when Major League baseball was the opposite yeah one of the great things that he did he he had come up with Black players in uh high school and the minor leagues he played against Jackie Robinson in southern California and uh his high school Ted's was was all white but he had played other against other players and in the minor leagues he'd gone up against uh some of the old Negro league uh barnstorming teams Satchel Paige and others one of his uh most notable moment came in 1966 after he was retired and he when he was being inducted into the hall of fame and he went off script you know how you thank everybody who put you there that day but then he called on uh the powers that be in the hall of fame to uh admit the Negro league players some of the great Black ball players who were then banned from becoming into the hall of fame because they had nver played in the major leagues which of corse it was a catch 22 Jackie Robinson didn't break the color line until '47 that was a courageous thing to do and Williams earned enormous goodwill uh with the Black players for uh doing that and I think it had something to do with his being uh Mexican in part Mexican American knowing the sting of prejudice and uh so when Robinson integrated the league uh Williams sent him a letter congratulations when Larry Doby became the first Black player in the American League for the Cleveland Indians the following year uh Williams would go out of his way to welcome him and chat him up and how you doing and uh that kind of thing I think that that was a uh significant thing that he did to feel to make Black players uh feel welcome you know if if memory serves me right I think a guy named Fleetwood Walker in the eighteen eighties was a was a Black ball player was the maybe the first Black ball player in the major leagues they had what in affect were major leagues in those days and then somehow I think it was Cap Anson under the Chicago Cubs that said no more of this he was a bigot and then there were no as you point out there were no Blacks for about sixty years in the major leagues that's absolutely astounding and everybody knew that they were wonderful ballplayers in fact they used to uh when the Cubs weren't at home at Wrigley Field and the same goes in other stadiums the uh African American leagues would play there yes yes and that was a way that the uh uh major league owners made money that revenue stream was one reason that uh they didn't want integrated baseball because they were making money uh off segregation and they also worried that uh if Black players uh played in the majors that the the white fan base would be offended and stop coming to the games who knows you know could a they could've been accurate not justifiable but it might have been accurate right of course you know those were just terrible days everybody passed on Robinson on Willie Mays that's just startling the Red Sox did the Red Sox passed on Willie May a lot I think a lot of teams passed on Willie Mays passed on on Robinson and Mays yes yes so can you imagine uh and outfield of of uh Dom DiMaggio Willie Mays and Ted and Ted Williams yeah yep that's all I can do is imagine it yeah right the Red Sox were not good uh when it came to to uh uh Black athletes yeah well uh I don't think that was Ted's fault that was Tom Yawkey's fault the owner and so he said people blame him I don't think generally at least uh knowledgable fans blame him knowing that he that he helped Black players but it is an interesting question given Ted's role as a star for the Red Sox could he have pushed Yawkey privately more to uh integrate faster he told a few friends late in life Williams that yes he he thought he should have done more when you dry the moisture out of bats the ball would be hit farther and harder did he figure that out this guy Larry Pressman uh uh offered that theory to him and he was interested it's it's one of the uh the the the new stories in the book a local fellow older man now uh who lived in uh uh Chelsea across the uh Mystic River from Boston had grown up a fan of Williams and and he had sort of a scientific bent and he was experimenting with the affect of moisture on bats he noticed if he left his bat out over night it would it would uh be heavier after absorbing moisture from the dew and the grass and so forth and uh he experimented one day and heated the bat in his uh wood stove noticed that uh the next day that the bat was lighter and uh he could hit better with it and so he he writes a letter to Ted Williams and the letter finds its way to Ted and Ted is intrigued this is a fourteen year old kid at the time Ted says come on in to Fenway Park and uh let's talk Pressman goes in and uh they talk about this and Williams says well uh you have a wood stove to heat your bats uh how am I gonna do that and Pressman says well you've got an industrial strength uh washer dryer here in the clubhouse you you wrap the bats in a towel and you put it in the dryer let it go for about fifteen twenty minutes and then the bat will be uh nice and dry and uh Ted tried this then went out and took some batting practice and found that that uh he was getting better performance out of this Pressman he wanted more proof of this and so they they had a batting practice session uh arranged with you know bats that had moisture and bats that didn't and Ted took a scientific approach to this and concluded that he was getting better performance so he did this unknown to uh really revealing it in the book uh to most everybody but I got several players like Jimmy Piersall and Bobby Doerr to confirm that yes he would do this in uh in the clubhouse heat the bats and the other players thought it was just another Williams eccentricity and uh he did it yeah famous quote he made a great catch and broke his elbow crashing into a wall what you know did he ever say what possessed him to do that yeah good good the heat of the moment I guess that was the nineteen fifty all star game where he broke his elbow making a uh really good catch and you're right it didn't square with his famous quote they don't pay off on fielding which is really true when you think about it even today you read a story about a baseball player it's all about his hitting and what his average is and uh this and that not not so much about uh his fielding uh but that was a day when he did make a uh a rare sparkling catch and uh he always said that he wasn't the same after that that he didn't get the arm extension that you really and what did he think not getting the arm extension meant in terms of his hitting it meant that he wasn't getting the follow through and the power that he had before hand yeah why don't you talk about uh comparison between Joe DiMaggio and he uh in terms of what each did and what each accomplished yeah well they were the great stars of the day in in baseball's hey day uh well you know there was one guy in the National League to Musial yes who probably ranked with them but you'd here about DiMaggio and Williams because there was the American League and uh Musial played in St Louis which was you know way out in the mid west somewhere and and uh yeah there's an old Yiddish word yenne velt in was in yenne velt way the Hell out there somewhere yeah and and Musial didn't have the uh dynamic personality that uh uh Joe and Ted especially Ted DiMaggio was actually quite quiet and sullen but they had a great rivalry Ted and Joe for uh DiMaggio the rivalry was uh personal for Ted it was uh friendly and uh but DiMaggio extended the rivalry even into retirement he would always privately disparage Williams to his friends he'd say tell him to hold up his hand how many rings does he have meaning World Series championships and of course Ted had none the Red Sox had only went to a World Series once in Williams' career 1946 when they lost to the Cardinals in seven games DiMaggio won uh what ten or eleven World Series yeah yeah and uh beat the Dodgers every time yeah and he'd say that he you know that he runs like a duck talking about Williams and he throws like a broad these uh you know unkind remarks yeah and where as Ted was always more generous uh to Joe in his private remarks and uh always said he was a great player always conceded that he was a better all around player certainly Ted was a one dimensional player all he cared about was hitting yeah he had this this uh life long rivalry but I think uh Ted was uh kinder to Joe I found it remarkable that when attendance went down in what 1942 DiMaggio and Williams both felt Joe DiMaggio and Williams both felt that the ball had been deadened the owners agre got together and agreed to tell the managers pitch to Williams so he'll hit more yeah that's astounding I can't imagine that happening today see Williams Dom DiMaggio Bobby Doerr Johnny Pesky Vern Stephens Ellis Kinder that those are all mentioned in your book and uh I would add Berdie Tebbetts and Walt Dropo yeah how did that team ever lose a game I mean that was an all time team that was the '51 team yeah and they they had been that way since about forty six yeah well then the team broke up uh Doerr retired and you know they didn't have the depth of pitching you know after Ellis Kinder it got pretty thin and uh they had a guy named Jack Kramer who was pretty good for a while yeah yeah but I guess that was it Kinder and then maybe Kramer and then when you head into the fifties uh the the rest of that decade uh the team was really pretty lousy and and Ted was the only reason to come to Fenway Park really there is a story that you wanted to tell about Williams 'cause apparently it's one of many remarkable ones about him why don't you go ahead and uh tell it well there are a million uh great Ted Williams stories and uh sometimes they're uh difficult to uh recount publicly because Ted was so profane that they're not always uh fit to be uh heard in a audience like tihis but one of my favorite stories happened in 1955 when the Red Sox were playing the Washington Senators at Fenway Park in a summer of '55 and the uh pitching for the Senators uh that day was a rookie named Pedro Ramos Cuban remember him oh sure Williams came up and uh Ramos struck Ted out and it was very unusual for Ted to strike out so Ramos this rookie was beside himself with excitement at having struck out the great Williams so after the game in an act of great hutzpah this rookie takes the ball that he struck out Williams with barges into the Red Sox clubhouse approaches the great man and asks him would he autograph the ball that Ramos struck him out with and Ted said get the blankety blank out of here with that ball I'm never gonna sign it but somebody persuaded Ted ultimately to sign the ball for this young Cuban rookie Pedro Ramos Ramos takes the ball back a happy man fast forward uh two or three weeks later the Senators are back in town at Fenway and Ramos is on the mound again up comes Ted puts the first pitch twenty rows up in the bleachers for a home run and he's into his home run trot he's rounding third he yells over to Ramos I'll sign that son of a bitch to if you can find it I think that's my favorite Ted story yeah I want to thank you thank you pleasure ladies and gentlemen buy this book and read it it is truly interesting and while it's about a great sports hero it's about a lot more than uh quote just a sports hero and be with us again next time thank you


Regular season

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB
Cleveland Indians 111 43 .721 --
New York Yankees 103 51 .669 8
Chicago White Sox 94 60 .610 17
Boston Red Sox 69 85 .448 42
Detroit Tigers 68 86 .442 43
Washington Senators 66 88 .429 45
Baltimore Orioles 54 100 .351 57
Philadelphia Athletics 51 103 .331 60

Record vs. opponents

1954 American League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Baltimore 11–11 7–15 3–19 8–14 5–17 10–12 10–12
Boston 11–11 5–17 2–20–2 14–8 9–13 15–7 13–9
Chicago 15–7 17–5 11–11 12–10–1 7–15 17–5 15–7
Cleveland 19–3 20–2–2 11–11 14–8 11–11 18–4 18–4
Detroit 14–8 8–14 10–12–1 8–14 6–16 13–9 9–13
New York 17–5 13–9 15–7 11–11 16–6 18–4–1 13–9
Philadelphia 12–10 7–15 5–17 4–18 9–13 4–18–1 10–12–1
Washington 12–10 9–13 7–15 4–18 13–9 9–13 12–10–1

Opening Day lineup

  8 Billy Consolo 2B
37 Jimmy Piersall     CF
30 Jackie Jensen RF
  1 George Kell 3B
10 Billy Goodman     LF
  3 Dick Gernert 1B
22 Sammy White C
  5 Ted Lepcio SS
17 Mel Parnell P


1954 Boston Red Sox
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters



Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
RF Jimmy Piersall 133 474 135 .285 8 38

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Billy Consolo 91 242 55 .227 1 11


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Tom Brewer 33 162.2 10 9 4.65 69

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Louisville Colonels American Association Pinky Higgins
A Albany Senators Eastern League Jack Burns
B Greensboro Patriots Carolina League Eddie Popowski
C San Jose Red Sox California League Red Marion
D Bluefield Blue-Grays Appalachian League Len Okrie
D Corning Red Sox PONY League Sheriff Robinson

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Louisville, Albany, Bluefield, Corning[2]


  1. ^ Ed Costello. “Murphy of Tulsa to Assist Gowdy on Radio-TV During Red Sox Games.” Boston Herald, 21 January 1954, p. 23.
  2. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007


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