Ted Williams entered the exalted circle of 400 home run hitters at Fenway Park last night to break up a scoreless pitching battle between Bob Porterfield and Tommy Gorman.
The Red Sox slugger, only the fifth player in history to reach the 400 figure and one of the .400 hitters in the game, left no doubt about the destination of his smash. He hit Gorman’s first toss high into the air and it sailed into the bleachers a half dozen rows up behind the visiting bullpen. A 400 foot wallop for home run No. 400.
Ted’s historic clout created quite a scramble in the bleachers. It was retrieved by Peter Hickey of Winthrop st., Waltham. Bullpen coach Mickey Owen joined with ushers to find Hickey in the bleachers. When they located him, Peter exchanged the 400th Williams home run ball for a new one from Owen. It was announced that Hickey would be given two tickets to a future Red Sox game by Williams.
The only other players who have hit 400 or more home runs were Babe Ruth (714), Jimmy Foxx (534), Mel Ott (511) and Lou Gehrig (494). Ted would have to play three more full years for a chance to beat Gehrig’s total.
The crowd roared when announced Frank Fallon disclosed that this was Ted’s 400th homer. There was another tremendous ovation when Williams trotted out to his left field post for the start of the seventh inning.
“I didn’t think I’d ever get it,” Williams declared after the game. “It was a long time coming. But it sure felt good.”
Ted admitted that No. 400 gave him one of the biggest thrills he has ever had in baseball. It was comparable to his game-winning homer in the All-Star game in Detroit 15 years ago.
Williams’ homer was only his sixth of the season. This is his lowest H.R. production over a 65-game stretch, which is his total for this season. He appeared in 20 games as a pinch-hitter while sweating out a severe instep injury.
A chance to hit No. 401 was never presented to Ted. When he came to bat in the seventh, the Sox had two men on base and two out. Bobby Shantz, the little lefty, relieved Gorman. Bobby walked Williams. This brought a round of boohs from 24,441 spectators.
But Ted had the one he wanted. It gave him one of those few extra tingles he has received while making one of his record smashes.