Ted Williams
"The greatest hitter who ever lived"

Pictures from LIFE magazine, 1 Sep 1941, the year Ted hit a season average of .406 — the last hitter to go over .400 for a season. Animated GIF by Ed Stephan.

The most sensationally consistent hitter in big league baseball is a gangling, 22-year-old outfielder named Ted Williams of the Red Sox (see front cover).
    Williams is a great hitter for three reasons: eyes, wrists and forearms. He has what ballplayers call "camera eyes" which allow him to focus on a pitched ball as it zooms down its 60-ft. path from the pitcher's hand, accurately judge i ts intended path across the plate, and reach for it. He even claims he can see the ball and bat meet. The rest of his formula is never to stop swinging. On and off the field he constantly wields a bat to keep the spring in his powerful wrist. Even when he is in the outfield he sometimes keeps waving his arms in a batting arc. And, more than most other great batters, he keeps his body out of his swing, puts all his drive into his forearms.
    Here on these pages are high-speed pictures taken by Gjon Mili which show the great co-ordination of these factors, the split-second release of power which enables Ted to hit safely four out of every ten times he comes to bat.
Animation Homepage