When Ted Williams retired from the game in 1960, many thought he was headed for a lifetime of fishing. That was the case for a few years until new Washington Senators owner Bob Short came calling. Short wanted, no needed Ted to manage his struggling Senators. Ted wasn't interested. Short tried again. Teddy said no again. Short brought in AL President and former Red Sox manager Joe Cronin for help. Joe called Ted in Florida and told him, "baseball needs you." How could Ted say no to his former manager and a salary of $1.25 million over five years?
On April 7, 1969 Ted Williams managed his first game as the skipper of the Senators. As you would expect from the greatest hitter of all time, Ted's immediate impact on the Senators came with the hitters. In that first season the team's batting average went up by 25 points. The Senators finished the season at 86 - 76, above .500 for the first time in franchise history. Attendance soared and Teddy was voted American League Manager of the Year.
Ted with one of his hitting proteges, Eddie Brinkman.
Unfortunately the following years did not go as well. 1970 brought pitching problems to Washington and the Senators were below .500 once again at 70 - 92. Year three of Teddy's regime was even worse with the club making bad trades and finishing the season with a record of 63 - 96. The honeymoon was over and Bob Short wanted out of Washington. He petitioned and won approval to move the team to Arlington, Texas. Ted spent one year in Texas with the Rangers, hated it and resigned at the end of the 1972 season.
Ted's feelings on his years as a manager can be summed up best with a quote from the man himself:
"Managing is essentially a loser's job, and managers are about the most expendable pieces of furniture on earth."
For more on Ted's managerial career and the Washington Senators, check out Ted Williams and the 1969 Washington Senators: The Last Winning Season by Ted Leavengood.
A couple of weeks ago one of our facebook fans asked us to make a Williams Senators jersey. We haven't been asked for that one much, but we're thinking about it. Anyone else interested?