Former Red Sox listed among ESPN’s top 100 MLB players of all time

Boston Red Sox David Ortiz (R) is congratulated his solo homer by teammate Manny Ramirez in the top of the first innings against Japan's Hanshin Tigers in an exhibition game in the Tokyo Dome on March 22, 2008.The Boston Red Sox managed a narrow 6-5 victory against Tigers in an exhibition game here, days ahead of the official season opening games against the Oakland Athletics. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox David Ortiz (R) is congratulated his solo homer by teammate Manny Ramirez in the top of the first innings against Japan's Hanshin Tigers in an exhibition game in the Tokyo Dome on March 22, 2008.The Boston Red Sox managed a narrow 6-5 victory against Tigers in an exhibition game here, days ahead of the official season opening games against the Oakland Athletics. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Red Sox OF Ted Williams
CLEVELAND – 1956: (l to r) Outfielder Ted Williams and manager Pinky Higgins of the Boston Red Sox pose on the dugout steps prior to a 1956 season game between the Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams – No. 5

There are some who would say that Ted Williams was the greatest hitter who ever lived. There were those who put up better power numbers and others who were better all-around hitters. However, when it came to the pure art of hitting, it’s hard to top what Williams accomplished.

Teddy Ballgame spent his entire 19-year career with the Red Sox, hitting .344 with a 1.116 OPS. His .482 OBP is the best in baseball history.

The 19-time All-Star is the last MLB hitter to hit .400 for a season, producing a .406 average in 1941. Williams won the Triple Crown the following year when he hit .356 with 36 home runs and 137 RBI. Shockingly, he didn’t win the MVP in either season, finishing as the runner-up to a player from the pennant-winning Yankees in both seasons.

Williams spent three years away from the game while serving in the military during World War II. He returned in 1946 to win his first MVP. The Red Sox won the pennant that year, the only season in which he played in the World Series.

Williams won two MVPs and it certainly would have been more if players from pennant-winning teams weren’t heavily favored in those days. He also won the Triple Crown twice along with six batting titles. His 521 home runs are tied for 20th all-time and the most in Red Sox history.

We can only image what his career numbers would have been if he hadn’t missed the better part of five seasons to serve in two different wars. Despite missing so much of his prime, Williams put up incredible numbers.