Fenway Park, 1939, and a young Red Sox rookie by the name of Ted Williams watches intently from the batting cage, beautifully captured, as always, by Boston photographer Leslie Jones.
Ted (incidentally sporting the 1939 Baseball Centennial patch that would be on all MLB uniforms that season, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the major leagues) didn’t have much to learn, as he was pretty exceptional right out of the gate – he batted .327 in his rookie season, leading the AL in total bases and the majors in RBI with 145, still the all-time rookie record. One of the few things he didn’t accomplish that first season was selection to the All-Star Game, the only time he was not chosen (or elected from 1947-1957) in his career (19 times in all). 2 Triple Crowns, 6 batting titles, 2 MVPs, the last .400 hitter, the all-time career leader in OBP – not much else to add about arguably the greatest hitter of all time (still debated, but he’s always in the conversation).
Leslie Jones, whose photos have graced this blog before (and will continue to do so) wasn’t exclusively a sports photographer, but as I’ve cited before, his collection of over 2,500 baseball photos taken in both Boston major league parks in the ’30’s, ’40’s and ’50’s are of exceptional quality and an essential part of baseball history, available to all through the Boston Public Library’s Flickr site, linked above, and would be greatly enjoyed by any classic baseball fan.
Until next time, more photos by Leslie Jones of Ted Williams in his rookie season: