Was Ted Williams Robbed?

Benjamin EdwardsCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2008

“My only goal is that one day, when I walk down the street, I want someone to say ‘Look, there goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.’”

Here is a quick rundown of Ted’s stats:

Career batting avg:          .344 (7th all time)

Home Runs:                       521 (17th)

Runs Batted In:                1839 (13th)

On Base Percentage:         .482  (1st)

Slugging Percentage:         .634  (2nd)

Walks:                              2021  (4th)

All-Star games:                   17  (7th)

Pretty good, I’d say. Keep in mind however that Ted lost three years when he was fighting in WWII and the majority of two more during the Korean War. Had he played those seasons, you can add about 150 home runs to his total, which would bring him up to around 670 and he would also be in the 3,400 hit range. Ted was also the last batter to hit .400 in a season (1941).

I mention all of those facts to tell you this:

Ted Williams was robbed. He won the AL MVP in 1946 and again in 1949 but came in second four times in his career. All four times, he lost to Yankees. He came in third in 1948. The statistics will show that Ted deserved most of these MVPs.

1. 1941- Ted bats .406, DiMaggio hits in 56 straight games. Ted has a batting average almost 50 points higher and seven more home runs in almost 100 fewer at-bats. Only one other player had hit .400 in the previous 15 years and no one has done it since.

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        Name              Team    AB    H   HR    BA    OPS   SB

 1 Joe DiMaggio       NYY    541  193  30   .357  1.083   4         
 2 Ted Williams          BOS    456  185  37   .406  1.288   2

2. 1942-  Ted Williams wins the Triple Crown and Joe Gordon, a career .268 hitter, bats over .300 and beats out Ted for the MVP. Ted hits twice as many homers as Gordon who would never again hit above .284 in his career.

        Name                          AB    H    HR    BA     OPS     SB

  1 Joe Gordon        NYY      538  173  18    .322    .900    12
  2 Ted Williams        BOS      522  186  36    .356   1.147    3

3. 1947-  Again, Ted wins the Triple Crown, but Joltin’ Joe wins again.

     Name              Team    AB    H     HR    BA     OPS    SB  

  1 Joe DiMaggio      NYY    534  168   20   .315   .913     3        
  2 Ted Williams       BOS    528  181   32   .343  1.133    0

4. 1948-  This time it’s a three way battle as Ted comes in third. Look at the at-bat totals.

     Name               Team   AB       H    HR    BA      OPS    SB 

  1 Lou Boudreau      CLE    560   199  18   .355    .987     3
  2 Joe DiMaggio        NYY    594   190   39   .320    .994    1
  3 Ted Williams         BOS    509   188   25  .369   1.112    4

5. 1957-  This one is the closest as a 38-year-old Ted goes neck and neck with 25 year old Mickey Mantle. Notice that Ted has 54 less at-bats.

      Name                Team      AB      H     HR     BA      OPS    SB
  1 Mickey Mantle      NYY      474   173   34    .365   1.177    16
  2 Ted Williams          BOS      420   163   38    .388   1.257     0

I think you will agree that at least a few of these should have gone to Ted. If all of them had, he would have seven, which is the record held by Barry Bonds.

Postseason play is not supposed to be considered in the MVP voting in case you were thinking about the World Series wins by the Yankees in these years.

Ted was robbed. Any doubters?

Benjamin Edwards is the lead writer for Studyofsports.com

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