On September 29, 1942, a day after beating the New York Yankees in the final game of the 1942 regular season, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox drove to Hartford, Connecticut. “The Kid” was to make a guest star appearance for Bill Savitt’s semi-pro club, the Savitt Gems. The Gems took on the New Britain Cremos who had the battery of the Brooklyn Dodgers as guest stars of their own; pitcher, Hugh Casey and catcher, Mickey Owen.
Williams put on a display during batting practice for a crowd of about 2,500 people under the lights at Bulkeley Stadium. The game would prove to be a pitchers duel. Hartford native Monk Dubiel and Hugh Casey kept the bats at bay for 5 scoreless innings. The Gems scraped in a run in the 6th inning. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Williams stepped up and cracked a dramatic home run over the centerfield wall off of Casey. The Savitt Gems won 2-1 over the Cremos.
When he appeared for the Gems, Ted “The Kid” Williams was 23 years old and in his prime. A year before coming to Hartford, Williams famously completed his 1941 season with an amazing .406 batting average. In 1942, he led the majors in home runs, RBI and batting average, earning his first Triple Crown. During his visit in Hartford, Williams revealed publicly that he planned to enlist in World War II as Navy flying cadet. He served heroically and would be recalled into the Korean War in 1952 and 1953.
Also called “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” Williams manned left field for the Boston Red Sox for 19 years and was a nineteen-time All-Star. By the end of his career, Williams was a 2-time recipient of the American League Most Valuable Player Award, a 6-time AL batting champion, and a 2-time Triple Crown winner. He retired with a .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and a .482 on-base percentage, the highest of all time. The Kid’s career batting average is the highest of any MLB player whose career was played primarily in the live-ball era.
Ted Williams, the Kid himself, leader of both leagues in batting, home runs, and runs batted in, is coming to Hartford September 28th to play center field for the Savitt Gems in a game with a Connecticut semi-pro team to be named. The Red Sox slugger was a little backward about coming at first. Bill Savitt offered him $500 to appear, but Ted declined. Next day, Savitt offered him $750 but got no answer to his wire. Well, Bill told me about it. I suggested offering Williams a $1,000 war bond, same outlay to Bill, $750, but who could refuse a $1,000 bond? Bill wired the offer; Williams wired acceptance within one hour. Till next time, this is Bob Steele in Hartford, saying so long, men.“Bob Steele, Radio Announcer, September 24, 1942