Saturday, October 05, 2013

Ted Williams: The Missing Years

The great Ted Williams retired with 521 home runs and 2,654 hits. He played 19 seasons, and missed three seasons while serving in the military. These three seasons came after he had played his first four seasons in the major leagues. It is an interesting exercise to project how many hits and home runs Williams would have complied had the played those three seasons, in the prime of his career.

Since Williams first four seasons were quite productive, it can be assumed that he would've at the very least matched those early totals. His hit totals were 185, 193, 185, and 186. Figuring an additional 185 hits for those three seasons would give Williams a total of 3,209 hits. This total would place Ted around seventh on the all-time hit list, when he retired.

In his first four seasons Williams hit 31, 23, 37, and 36 home runs. Adding the average (31), Ted would've retired with 614 home runs, at the time second only to Babe Ruth – and over one hundred more home runs than number three on the list, Mel Ott's 511.

In addition, during the Korean War Williams missed all but 43 games of the 1952 and 1953 seasons. Adding these same hit and home run totals would bring Williams' totals to 3,538 hits and 662 home runs.

In the final 37 games of the 1953 season Williams hit 13 home runs in 91 at bats. Had Ted played a normal season with 500 at bats he would have hit a record 71 home runs. This would've brought his estimated home run total to around 700 home runs: Babe Ruth territory.

For his career, Williams hit .344, on base .482, slugged .634, with an out-of-this world 1.116 OPS. Almost every other player in history never equaled this numbers in any one season.

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