Keene: 75 years ago, Ted Williams hit his stride in Navy baseball

From SABR member Anne Keene at Boston Sports Extra on July 24, 2018:

As viewers tune into the PBS Masters documentary, Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” the Splendid Splinter was roughing it 75 years ago this week in the most difficult and dangerous aviation training school in the world. During that 90-day training camp, Williams played the majority of his military baseball for a Navy Pre-Flight team known as the “Cloudbuster Nine.”

After hernia surgery, Williams shipped into Pre-Flight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 1943. As a member of the 25th Battalion he found himself back on the ballfield, missing dinner and precious rest time for extra batting practice with the baseball coach and fellow Red Sox cadet, Johnny Pesky. As Williams regained his perfect, barber-pole swing, he exceled in classroom courses such as physics and the Theory of Flight, which later influenced his book The Science of Hitting. He also became a standout boxer and thrived in Outdoor Survival Training, where cadets were dropped alone in the woods, 30 miles away from base with little more than a compass and a canteen. Like a bird dog Williams always made his way back home.

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Originally published: July 24, 2018. Last Updated: July 24, 2018.