August 6, 2010 1:00 PM ET
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
On this day, Ted Williams went back to his day job as the greatest hitter ever.
August 6, 1953: A small crowd of 6,792 at Fenway Park gives a warm welcome to its hero, Ted Williams, in his first game back since leaving the Red Sox to rejoin the Marines as a fighter pilot in Korea. Teddy Ballgame served during World War II and on May 1, 1952, at the age of 34, he was recalled to active duty for service in the Korean War.
During his time in Korea, Williams flew 39 combat missions - including a number as the wingman for astronaut and U.S. senator John Glenn. In total, the Splendid Splinter spent nearly five years in the military during the prime of his baseball career. And when Williams finally got back on the field, it was in the unfamiliar role of a pinch hitter.
With his Red Sox down by 1 to the St. Louis Browns with one out in the ninth inning, Williams was called upon to bat with runners on first and third. Unfortunately, his first plate appearance in 15 months didn't go as planned. Williams popped up to first base and the Red Sox went on to lose in extra innings. For Williams, though, his hero status - for both the Red Sox and the nation as a whole - had already been cemented.