July 5th: Honoring the Splendid Splinter
Tigers 9 – Red Sox 5
Ted Williams was unquestionably the greatest player in Red Sox history. He spent 19 years in Boston, racking up over 2600 hits and 521 home runs and setting an all-time record with a .482 on-base percentage. He won six batting titles, four home run titles, and ten times led the league in OPS. Williams always said he wanted to be known as the greatest hitter who ever lived, and it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t.
A beloved figure in Boston even after his retirement, Williams died on July 5, 2002, at the age of 83. Red Sox fans, players, and management mourned the loss of their franchise icon. ” I know that everyone who is a Red Sox fan today is in mourning,” said Red Sox owner Henry said. “He accomplished the one thing he set out to do, and that was to become the greatest hitter of all time.”
William’s former teammate and fellow Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky also paid tribute. ” He was like my big brother,” he said. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”
The Red Sox would honor Williams before their July 5 game against the Tigers. The Red Sox wore black armbands on their right sleeve and patches with the number nine. A trumpeter played “Taps” while a video of Williams appeared on the scoreboard, and a moment of silence was held at the conclusion of the song.
The end result of the game, a 9-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers, had little significance to the over 33,000 in attendance. This day was all about honoring the memory of their fallen hero, and in that sense, it was a massive success.