Red Sox Rumor: Ted Williams almost traded for Joe DiMaggio
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox rumors will start to fly as July heats up with both weather and baseball transactions. Nothing would have topped Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio.
Now the rumor mill will be it overtime as July rolls on. Teams that need that extra player will take a chance on bad health, bad temperament, bad numbers and a bad contract hoping that somehow all the possible negatives will vaporize. However, there is always that star or a few of them that represent the elite.
The headlines could have been a reality – the blockbuster trade of all-time – Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams traded to the Yankees for Joe DiMaggio. Historically, there were several attempts that may have involved a trade of Williams to the Yankees. But best to start with the “Fake News” baseball style from 1946.
"“I don’t like New York and I just don’t want to play there.” – Ted Williams"
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Dave Egan, also known as “The Colonel,” was not exactly on the Williams guest list as Egan delighted in his personal written assaults on Williams – real or imagined. For Williams, Egan represented the absolute bottom of the sports writing barrel.
Just prior to the Red Sox departing via train for St. Louis and the World Series, Egan wrote a column claiming that the Detroit Tigers had offered pitcher Hal Newhouser and outfielder Dick Wakefield for Williams. Egan was not done. Egan also claimed that the New York Yankees had offered up DiMaggio and several other players. Egan apparently pulled this information out of his hat.
There is also a basis of the fact that went beyond just the bored imagination of an influential sports writer.
"“I wouldn’t trade him for Yankee Stadium or Briggs Stadium.” – Tom Yawkey"
In April of 1947, the Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and Yankees owner Dan Topping were engaged in their favorite pastime – not baseball, but the enjoyment of adult beverages at Toot’s Shore’s in New York City. A deal was verbally consummated to send Williams to New York and DiMaggio to Boston. In the morning Yawkey requested a rookie named Yogi Berra to complete the transaction. That failed.
A deal that made a certain amount of batting sense. Boston had – as it still does – an immense right field. New York has a similar left field. Now the stars would have far more inviting targets. Baseball stars of equal magnitude have occasionally swapped teams in the pre-free agent era such as Rogers Hornsby for Frankie Frisch.
The trade of Williams to New York occasionally surfaced in the 1950’s, but nothing ever had traction and were generally just rumors circulated by a bored press. Williams with the Yankees may have erased the one negative in his history – no championships.
When Williams returned from his second military tour during the Korean conflict he had made mention of retirement and actually had after the 1954 season, but it was brief. If Williams had been dealt during that aborted holdout, he would have been part of the Yankee teams in 1955-58 and later 1960. That would be two World Series titles.
“The Kid” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. Source for Williams and Yawkey Quotes.