The Story of Teddy Ballgame’s Wildest Day

From SABR member Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times on May 12:

20,000 days ago today, Ted Williams had one of those days that explained why he was so widely maligned while simultaneously revealing his impressive abilities as a player.

It was a Red Sox-Yankee game typified by great pitching, not hitting, as it went into extra innings tied 0-0. Yankee legend-to-be Don Larsen was having an outstanding day. In his 10+ innings pitching, he allowed only four hits—three to Boston right fielder Jackie Jensen. Ted Williams could manage no more than a walk against him. Boston starter Willard Nixon matched Larsen frame-for-frame, though.

For Williams, the fun began in the 11th inning in the still-scoreless game. With two outs and no one on in the top of the 11th at Fenway, Williams misplayed a Mickey Mantle fly ball, allowing the young star to scamper to second base. Fans clearly didn’t think much of Williams’ defense; they booed him loudly. Williams didn’t react to it right then and there—but he wasn’t the kind of man to forgive and forget.

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Originally published: May 12, 2011. Last Updated: May 12, 2011.