When he first broke into the big leagues, they used to say of Darryl Strawberry he had the swing of Ted Williams. However, he never had the plate discipline of Williams, and as great as his numbers were, there was always the belief he could do more.
Strawberry’s career high in homers was 39, accomplished twice. Perhaps the most memorable homer in his career was the 440-foot drive off the scoreboard clock in St. Louis in 1985.
STRAWBERRY: What a sweet swing.
That proved to be overstated, but Strawberry was one of those rare players who grabbed and held your attention whenever he came to the plate. How far would this one go? Would he be punched out?
On this date in 1983, Strawberry hit the first of 335 homers in a career marred by drug use and suspension. Strawberry averaged 34 homers and 102 per 162-game stretch.
In a career oddity, Strawberry played for all the teams with New York roots: the Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Yankees.
Strawberry played out the last years of his career with drug problems and will be remembered as a wasted talent. Had he stayed clean, there’s no telling what his numbers might have been.
It’s not bragging if you can do it. It’s easy to say Ted Williams was a born hitter, and perhaps to a large degree that was true. But, nobody studied hitting more than Williams, who kept a book on every pitcher and broke down the strikezone into a series of batting averages to where if a pitch is thrown to a particular area he could tell what his average would be.
Williams lived to hit, and the essence of his career could be boiled down to one quote.
“A man has to have goals – for a day, for a lifetime – and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.’ ”
– Ted Williams
Ted Williams says good-bye.
In 1960, in his final major league plate appearance, Ted Williams homers off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher at Fenway Park, with a 450-foot drive over the Red Sox bullpen.
It was Williams’ 521st homer, placing him third on the all-time list at the time.
Williams does not take a curtain call, but after taking his position in left field, he is replaced by Carroll Hardy and given a standing ovation as he returns to the dugout.
Williams averaged .344 with 37 homers and 130 RBI a season during his career. Had he not spend five years serving in the military during World War II and the Korean War, it is staggering to think what his career numbers would have been.