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What if Ted Williams was a free agent?

Jan 10, 2012, 2:35 PM EDT

Ted Williams

Ted Williams was once asked by a reporter where he’d play if he was a free agent and could sign with any team.  You get a few guesses at which team it was before you click through.

OK, did you click though? He only gives some basic reasoning, but I could totally see that.  At the time — 1940 — it probably seemed like a huge opportunity to go to that particular team. Kind of a sleeping giant.

  1. shawndc04 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Hero, schmero. Right field was 297 feet at Ebbets Field. Ted liked those odds. Duke Snider seemed to do well there.

    • mrmarkls - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:59 PM


    • JBerardi - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:29 PM

      Smart hitter.

  2. test2402 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Nothing else to talk about?

    • dodger88 - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      Nothing else to read? You must be here for a reason.

  3. stex52 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    If he had been a free agent in modern baseball, he would have played for the team that offerred him $500 MM for ten years. And he would have earned it, too.

    • bloodysock - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      He would have wanted the perks to include a cryonics benefit and an unlimited supply of liquid nitrogen.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 10, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      He’s so selfish. He clogged up the bases with all those walks.

      • bigdicktater - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        I don’t think the ‘thumbs down’ crowd got the joke. You were joking, weren’t you?

      • JBerardi - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM

        I actually know people who think Williams was a bad hitter* because he “gave his team a walk when they needed a hit”.

        *I mean, no one’s crazy enough to think he was a bad hitter exactly… more like he was a great hitter in some crazy bizarro way that didn’t help his team. Like his walks indicated a critical lack of some mystical gritty-guttitude-Jeteresque-winnerism quality that somehow renders his accomplishments on the field just a meaningless collection of numerals disconnected from the act of winning baseball games… and if that makes no sense to you, well, it didn’t make much sense to me, either.

      • buddaley - Jan 11, 2012 at 6:36 AM

        “Colonel Egan”, a Boston columnist wrote a column in which he claimed Williams always choked in crucial situations. He listed the 10 great failures in Ted’s career to demonstrate his point.

        The criticism of preferring a walk to expanding the strike zone with runners in scoring position was also aimed at Wade Boggs.

  4. cur68 - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Can you see the book Boras would have put out on a free agent Ted Williams? Is there a format versatile enough to handle the hyperbole that would have been used?

    • hammyofdoom - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      I would have loved reading about how Ted could leap the RF wall in a single bound and how he’d curb statistics so that it’d be proven that he could hit 231 homers at that park.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 10, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Who would he even compare him to? Boras must compare players. Apparently he can’t sustain life without doing so.

      • cur68 - Jan 10, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        God, probably. He’ll say they’ve got comparable WAR and “leadership”.

  5. buddaley - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Lots of fans would oppose their team signing him because they would claim he was a “cancer in the clubhouse” and a selfish player who only cared about his own stats. They would point to his mammoth ego and the fact (even as early as 1940) that he had never played for a winner. I don’t know if the press had ganged up on him yet, but no doubt many already saw him as a disrespectful punk. (The story that in 1938, when advised to watch Jimmie Foxx hit he had replied “wait until he sees me hit”-and the possibility that Boston sent him back down to teach him a lesson-would probably already be known and would be proof positive for many that he was trouble.)

    In 1940, some fans would argue that he was too passive, taking too many walks when he might be driving in runs. And others might note his somewhat lackadaisical attitude about fielding his position. No doubt someone would recall an incident when he didn’t run after a fly ball as hard as they thought he should, or perhaps didn’t hustle to 1B.

    • cur68 - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      bud, you been reading too many Hanley Ramirez/Jose Reyes reviews (but a nod for excellent use of the sarcasm). I think he’d have got the Mike Young tongue bath treatment. In William’s case I think it would have been a touch more accurate, though.

    • bloodysock - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      Williams was only 21 during the majorty of the 1940 season (he turned 22 in mid-August). How many 21 year olds in MLB have ‘played for a winner’?

  6. Gonzo - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Was he not beloved in Boston? I know he was miserable, but I got the impression that he was just born that way.

    • aleskel - Jan 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      the Boston press was extremely hostile, and Teddy Ballgame more than returned the favor. Some of the criticism was legitimate (apathetic defender, not much of a baserunner, etc.) but most of it was the usual nonsense about him not having the will to win, not like the great Joe D. I think he was genuinely beloved by the fans, but the press experience completely shut him off.

      • Ralphie - Jan 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        Ted referred to the press as “The Knights of the Keyboard.” You’re right, there was no love lost there.

  7. koufaxmitzvah - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Maybe he had a premonition and wanted to be on the team that broke baseball’s color barrier rather than the last team to become interracial.

    • edog623 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Don’t talk about racism in Boston. Don’t you know that’s taboo? We can only talk about racism below the Mason-Dixon line. You know, because they drew a line on the map there.

    • clydeserra - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM


  8. dexterismyhero - Jan 10, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    He would not only have gotten his own lounge chair ala Barry, but he would have gotten a freezer to keep his jughead in after games.

    • JBerardi - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:43 PM

      You joke, but in many ways, Williams was the Bonds of his day.

      • clydeserra - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:38 PM

        what a selfish bastard he was. He didn’t give up his prime playing years to be enlist in the navy.

  9. nlucas550 - Jan 10, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    The Most Influential Cardinal, otherwise known as the “King of Baseball” is documented. Hue Jackson, Robert Griffin III, and a big game for Jaroslav Halak tonight in his return to Montreal.

    Check out the Daily Grind!

  10. heynerdlinger - Jan 10, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Of course, the irony is that Williams had been a free agent (as an amateur) and signed with the Red Sox. That’s more than most players can say today.

  11. neelymessier - Jan 10, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Hey Craig! Fancy yourself a writer? What if you was a writer? WERE

    I believe the market for cryogenically frozen and damaged heads has dropped quite a bit. I’ll have to check with the Head Exchange.

  12. hushbrother - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    If he had cryogenic ally frozen himself in 1940 and woken up today he could have gotten his wish. Well, except for the playing in Brooklyn part.

    • bloodysock - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:51 PM

      He might be able to make the Nets roster.

  13. daveydawg - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    If he was a free agent he’d be the head of the class

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