"The Splendid Splinter," "Teddy Ballgame," "The Kid"; "All-Star," "Hero..." and, sometimes, "Villain." Ted Williams has been known by many names. But there is none that suited him so well as "The Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived."
Hitting a baseball was an obsession for Williams; he dedicated his life to that simple task. Though simple, it is by no means easy to hit a round ball with a round bat. The best major league hitters succeed three times out of ten. No one has done better than that mark for an entire season since 1941. The last person to hit .400? Ted Williams.
Yesterday would have been Williams' 100th birthday. He passed 16 years ago, in 2002, at the age of 83. Today his legend is as formidable as ever. He is remembered as the ultimate master of his craft, as a foe of the press, and as an tireless supporter of the Jimmy Fund for children with cancer.
To salute Williams on his centennial, we've put together a selection of the best prints from our photographic archive of The Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived. Though he was never at peace with being written about or having his photo taken, Williams was an extremely popular subject. As a result, we are very fortunate to have a number of great images of him. Enjoy!
(Yes, that's him pitching on the bottom left! He pitched two innings of a 12-1 loss to the Tigers on August 24, 1940, giving up only one run.)