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Boston Red Sox

All Time Left Fielder

Ted Williams

Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

I guess every player thinks about going into the Hall of Fame. Now that the moment has come for me I find it difficult to say what is really in my heart. But I know it is the greatest thrill of my life. I received two hundred and eighty-odd votes from the writers. I know I didn't have two hundred and eighty-odd friends among the writers. I know they voted for me because they felt in their minds and in their hearts that I rated it, and I want to say to them: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Today I am thinking about a lot of things. I am thinking about my playground director in San Diego, Rodney Luscomb, my high school coach, Wos Caldwell, and my managers, who had so much patience with me--fellows like Frank Shellenback, Donie Bush, Joe Cronin, and Joe McCarthy. I am thinking of Eddie Collins, who had so much faith in me--and to be in the Hall with him particularly, as well as those other great players, is a great honor. I'm sorry Eddie isn't here today.

I'm thinking of Tom Yawkey. I have always said it: Tom Yawkey is the greatest owner in baseball. I was lucky to have played on the club he owned, and I'm grateful to him for being here today.

But I'd not be leveling if I left it at that. Ballplayers are not born great. They're not born great hitters or pitchers or managers, and luck isn't a big factor. No one has come up with a substitute for hard work. I've never met a great player who didn't have to work harder at learning to play ball than anything else he ever did. To me it was the greatest fun I ever had, which probably explains why today I feel both humility and pride, because God let me play the game and learn to be good at it.

The other day Willie Mays hit his five hundred and twenty-second homerun. He has gone past me, and he's pushing, and I say to him, 'go get 'em Willie.'

Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel. Not just to be as good as anybody else, but to be better. This is the nature of man and the name of the game. I hope some day Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson will be voted into the Hall of Fame as symbols of the great Negro players who are not here only because they weren't given the chance.

As time goes on I'll be thinking baseball, teaching baseball, and arguing for baseball to keep it right on top of American sports, just as it is in Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, and other Latin American and South American countries. I know Casey feels the same way. . . .

I also know I'll lose a dear friend if I don't stop talking. I'm eating into his time, and that is unforgivable. So in closing, I am greatful and know how lucky I was to have been born an American and had the chance to play the game I love, the greatest game."

Ted Williams

July 25, 1966
Cooperstown, New York

Ted Williams photos

Williams Baseball Card

Review of The Teammates


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Manager Joe Cronin
First Baseman George Scott
Second Baseman Bobby Doerr
Third Baseman Wade Boggs
Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra
Left Fielder Ted Williams
Center Fielder Fred Lynn
Right Fielder Carl Yastrzemski
Catcher Carlton Fisk
RH Pitcher Roger Clemens
LH Pitcher Babe Ruth
Closer Dick Radatz
Designated Hitter Jim Rice

Josh Beckett, Ellis Burks, Orlando Cabrera, Matt Clement, Jimmy Collins, Tony Conigliero, Johnny Damon, Dom Dimaggio, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dwight Evans, Keith Foulke, Larry Gardner, Rich Gedman, Billy Goodman, Lefty Grove, Shea Hillenbrand, Harry Hooper, Jackie Jensen, Byung-Hyun Kim, Ellis Kinder, Bill Lee, Jim Lonborg, Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carl Mays, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, Trot Nixon, David Ortiz, Jon Papelbon, Mel Parnell, Dustin Pedroia, Johnny Pesky, Rico Petrocelli, Jeff Reardon, Dave Roberts, Pete Runnels, Wally Schang, Curt Schilling, Reggie Smith, Tris Speaker, Bob Stanley, Luis Tiant, Mo Vaughn, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Todd Walker, Smokey Joe Wood, Cy Young

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