“Williams in Character Even to Dramatic End”
Ted Williams was in character to the end. He hit a home run in his last time at bat. He took a dig at the sports writers. He did not tip his cap or otherwise acknowledge the applause of 10,454 nearly hysterical fans who had come to see and cheer his farewell at Fenway Park.
His farewell at Fenway or elsewhere, as it turned out. Unknown to the public, he had decided before yesterday’s game not to play the final three games at Yankee Stadium.
Thus, the Williams, who as a 20-year-old rookie had struck out against Red Ruffing his first time at bat, in Yankee Stadium, Apr. 20, 1939, close his career with his 521st home run.
Williams was cheered and cheered. When Mayor Collins extolled him before the game. When he flied to center. When he flied deep to right.
When he batted in the eight, for his last time up in Boston—except for Old-Timers Games. A stand-up ovation delaying action two minutes.
And when he lined a 1-1 fast ball by Jack Fisher off the Red Sox bullpen roof. Pandemonium filled the park as he hastily rounded the bases.
After he had scurried down the steps and ducked into the Boston dugout in his self-conscious way, the applause continued. It swelled. The audience wanted a curtain call.
“We want Ted.” The chant grew.
“Go ahead out, Ted,” urged teammates. “Wave your cap at ‘em. Just step out for a second.”
Was he embarrassed? Was he untouched? Was he proud?
He wouldn’t move—at 42, after 22 years, playing his last game for the fans he said he loved. Unbroken the vow he made in 1940, when he was boohed and jeered for not hitting homers into the specially constructed “Williamsburg” bullpens:
“To hell with them. They can booh me or they can cheer me, but I’m not going to tip my cap.”
The game is played. They’ve taken in the foul lines.”
“Williams in Character Even to Dramatic End,” by Harold Kaese. Boston Globe, September 29, 1960.