If there is one opposing player that Detroit Tigers fans still seem in awe of it is unquestionably Ted Williams. The most loyal Tigers fanatic will tell you without hesitation that Williams was the greatest hitter they ever saw.
This Tuesday, July 8, marks the 67th anniversary of the 1941 All-Star Game played at Briggs Stadium in which Williams launched, in his words, “the most thrilling hit of my life.”
Williams explains in his autobiography:
“[Pitcher Claude Passeau] worked the count to 2-1, then he came in with that sliding fastball around my belt and I swung. No cutdown protection swing, an all-out home run swing, probably with my eyes shut. … I had pulled it to right field, no doubt about that, but I was afraid I hadn’t got enough of the bat on the ball. But gee, it just kept going, up, up, way up into the right-field stands in Detroit.
“Well, it was the kind of thing a kid dreams about and imagines himself doing when he’s playing those little playground games we used to play in San Diego. Halfway down to first, seeing that ball going out, I stopped running and started leaping and jumping and clapping my hands, and I was just so happy I laughed out loud. I’ve never been so happy, and I’ve never seen so many happy guys.”
The American League All-Stars carried Williams off the field on their shoulders as the Briggs Stadium crowd went crazy. Below is a photograph of Williams crossing the plate and shaking hands with teammate Joe DiMaggio after the most thrilling moment of his baseball career. How cool that it happened at The Corner.