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|Ted Williams played his last game in 1960 but he's still worth reading about.|
You couldn't fool him on pitches. I never even tried to fool him, because it would just be wasting a pitch anyway. ... You try to hide the ball from him, and he could still pick it up. He'd see that ball and he could see those seams and he knew what you were throwing. If you showed him that ball at all -- just up here before you release it -- he could pick it up right there. He could see a gnat on a gnat's nest from 100 yards.
Was he the toughest out [I ever faced]? No, I had dozen fellows that were tougher than Ted. A lot of left-handed hitters like Tommy Henrich and Taft Wright, Stan Spence and Roy Cullenbine, who was a switch-hitter, Johnny Pesky, Nellie Fox, Rip Radcliff -- they were all tougher than Ted. DiMaggio hit me pretty good. ... I have no idea why he didn't hit a home run off me before the war, but he just didn't do it; though he hit 10 home runs off me in my last 10 years. ... He was difficult to strike out. I'd throw him a changeup around his ankles and he'd pull it foul, and then I'd throw a slider around his fists -- right around his belly button, around the belt buckle -- and that was a good pitch for him.
As far as my being lucky against him, that's what it is. I mean nobody actually outpitched [Ted]; he was just that good a hitter. You have the statistics here -- which I did not know until I read this -- that he only hit .156 against me. I did remember, though, that he never hit a home run and he had one double. ... Something else about Ted that was outstanding was that I honestly [cannot] recall him ever taking an awkward swing. When he made his mind to swing, it was a fluid, good, solid, balanced swing. So many of the other hitters that were considered good very often would be totally fooled and looked awkward, but he never did.