Today In History – Ted Williams Makes His Boston Debut

13 March 1938Ted Williams dons a Red Sox uniform for the first time in an exhibition game, playing right field and batting third in a 6-2 exhibition loss to Cincinnati in Sarasota, FL; Williams is hitless in four at-bats. Born in San Diego on 30 August 1918, the same day that Carl Mays wins two complete game efforts for the Red Sox on the way to Boston’s fourth World Series championship in seven seasons, Williams played high school baseball at Herbert Hoover High School. After graduation, the youngster turned pro and signed on to play for his hometown Padres of the Pacific Coast League; it soon became apparent that he was the real deal and scouts quickly got the word back to American and National League clubs.

In the fall of 1937, then-Boston general manager Eddie Collins made the trip west to broker a deal with the Padres for the rights to Williams; the trip paid off not only with the Red Sox sending Dom Dallesandro, Al Niemiec, and cash to the Padres in exchange for the 19-year-old future Hall of Fame player, but Collins’s trip also landed another future Hall of Fame player, Bobby Doerr. After his spring training stint with the Sox in 1938, Williams was farmed out to Minneapolis of the American Association; a year later, he arrived in the majors for good, becoming one of the best hitters over the next two decades and perhaps the greatest ever, in his own words.